The Eagles haven’t drafted a good CB since 2002, need Curtis Marsh and/or Brandon Boykin to be a hit.

In 2002, with an excellent (although aging) CB duo of Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor already in place, the Eagles drafted Lito Sheppard in the 1st round and Sheldon Brown in the 2nd.  Lito and Sheldon took over as the starting corners in 2004, and remained there until 2008, when the Eagles brought in Asante Samuel in free agency.  Sheppard would be the odd man out, and in the midst of a contract squabble, would eventually be traded to the Jets for a 5 and a conditional pick.

It remained Samuel and Brown until 2010, when again, the Eagles dealt Brown, in the midst of a contract squabble, to the Browns.  It then became Samuel and Ellis Hobbs.  Samuel and Hobbs were a CB tandem that went to a Super Bowl in New England, but that duo lasted just one year, as Hobbs suffered a serious neck injury and his career ended.

In 2011, the Eagles traded Kevin Kolb for a 2 and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and later shocked the football world by signing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency.  The Samuel-Asomugha-DRC trio was in effect for one year, before Asante Samuel was shipped off to the Falcons for pennies on the dollar in a salary dump.  This year it will be Nnamdi and DRC.

Here’s what all of that looks like in chart form:

Year LCB RCB
2012 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Nnamdi Asomugha
2011 Asante Samuel Nnamdi Asomugha
2010 Asante Samuel Ellis Hobbs
2009 Asante Samuel Sheldon Brown
2008 Asante Samuel Sheldon Brown
2007 Lito Sheppard Sheldon Brown
2006 Lito Sheppard Sheldon Brown
2005 Lito Sheppard Sheldon Brown
2004 Lito Sheppard Sheldon Brown
2003 Troy Vincent Bobby Taylor

The Eagles have had a good CB duo for the last decade+.  Really, the only year the Eagles had questionable talent at CB was 2010, with Hobbs as a starter.  Otherwise, there has never really been much urgency to hit on a CB in the draft. And that’s a good thing for the Eagles, because they have been missing on corners ever since they drafted Sheldon Brown in 2003.  We don’t yet know what will become of Curtis Marsh (2011) and Brandon Boykin (2012), so we’ll omit them from the following list, but here’s a quick rundown of the corners the Eagles have drafted since 2003:

Player Year Round Comment
Trevard Lindley 2010 4 Forced to play his rookie year when Asante Samuel got hurt, didn’t play well, cut the following training camp, and is now back with the team. Longshot to make the 53-man roster.
Macho Harris 2009 5 Played CB in college at Virginia Tech, made a transition to safety with the Eagles because of a lack of personnel there in the wake of Brian Dawkins leaving for Denver. Beat out Quintin Demps for the starting spot his rookie season, did not play well, was cut the following training camp, and has bounced around ever since. Currenty playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.
Jack Ikegwuonu 2008 4 Viewed as a “first round talent,” but was recovering from a serious leg injury and had legal issues, which dropped him to the 4th round. The Eagles drafted him knowing he’d sit on the shelf for a year or two, but were hoping for a long term home run. It didn’t pan out. Ikegwuonu played one game in 2009, was cut two days later, and has never seen an NFL field since.
Rashad Barksdale 2007 6 Never made the team, was picked up by the Chiefs, and appeared in 8 games with them.
Matt Ware 2004 3 In 2005, Quintin Mikell blocked a FG attempt by San Diego, which bounced perfectly into Ware’s hands, who ran it back for a score (and a win). That was Ware’s one notable play as an Eagle. I’ve never re-watched the Eagles-Pats Super Bowl, but if memory serves me correctly, the Pats utilized a ton of 4 WR sets because they wanted Ware on the field. He lasted two years in Philly, eventually being released before the 2006 season. He was picked up by the Cardinals where he played some safety and CB in a reserve role until 2010, when he was released.
Dexter Wynn 2004 6 Wynn actually lasted longer with the Eagles than anyone on this list. He appeared in 28 games for Philly, before brief stops in Houston and Detroit. Has been out of the league since 2008.

To be determined what will become of Curtis Marsh and Brandon Boykin.  With Nnamdi turning 31 in July, Joselio Hanson turning 31 in August, and DRC becoming a free agent after the 2012 season, the Eagles badly need Marsh and/or Boykin to be a hit. Training camp will be huge for both guys.

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  6. T_S_O_P says:

    That Superbowl where Matt Ware was abused wasn’t helped by the fact that Dexter Wynn was de-activated. He’d shown good ability that year as a dime CB, and his PR skills were good if a little dropsy at times. Reno Mahe, who was activated ahead of Wynn had not long been activated from the practise squad to fair catch punts (he got better in following years). I thought it was a terrible decision back then and have now again been reminded of it. 🙁

    1. D3Keith says:

      Oh yeah.

      I was at that Matt Ware runback game. Held in-his-prime LT to 7 yards but the offense couldn’t do jack.

      Re-watch that Super Bowl. It took me 5-6 years, but when I caught the replay, I’d forgotten how dominant the Eagles were in the first half. The Patriots were very fortunate it wasn’t worse than 7-all at the half.

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  8. tst29 says:

    The Asante Samuel signing really annoyed me at the time. I felt like the 2008 draft was stacked at the CB position. I really wanted either Flowers or Jenkins at the time.

    Bill Bellichick has been pretty mediocre at drafting CBs as well. I did like the McCourty pick even though I think he’s not as good as everyone makes him out to be.
    2011: Ras-I Dowling, 2nd Round
    2010: Devin McCourty, 1st Round
    2009: Darius Butler, 2nd Round
    2008: Terrence Wheatley, 2nd Round; Jonathan Wilhite, 4th Round
    2007: Brandon Meriweather, 1st Round
    2005: Ellis Hobbs, 3rd Round
    2003: Asante Samuel, 4th Round

    1. Will B says:

      That’s not too-too bad. Samuel and Meriweather were hits as well as McCourty.

  9. tst29 says:

    Sheldon Brown was drafted in 2002.

    1. Oops, that’s embarrassing. Fixed, thanks.

  10. ArthuroMolenda says:

    59% of starting CBs in the league (starting : on the field for at least 50% of all defensive snaps) were drafted in the 1st and 2nd rounds.
    Add 14% of UDFA to this and that means that the chances of finding a starting CB in rounds 3 to 7 are pretty slim.

    1. Tracer Bullet says:

      I was coming here to make that very point. They haven’t really tried to find a starting CB unless you count getting cute and spending mid-round picks on MASH cases as “trying.” I think CROM gets re-signed unless he’s absolutely terrible. Even if Marsh looks like the second coming of Night Train Lane, they’ll have to pair him with someone and there’s no obvious starter if the let CROM walk away.

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