Philadelphia Eagles could look to ‘bring in’ veteran cornerback help, Doug Pederson says
Doug Pederson discusses Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerback situation
PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles never seemed to view Dwayne Gratz as a potential Pro Bowler or even a surefire bet to make the final roster this season, but the team’s decision to cut the fifth-year cornerback on the eve of training camp caught several pundits by surprise.
And more than anything, the move reinforced the lack of experienced depth Philly has at corner, widely considered the team’s weakest position group.
It’s clear the Eagles felt Gratz couldn’t provide the type of steady play in the secondary they yearn for, which leads to a simple question: Where will they get that production from?
Coach Doug Pederson didn’t have a clear answer Monday after the Eagles’ first practice of training camp, but he did appear to offer a possible solution. The Birds could, Pederson suggested through a stammered news conference response, add a veteran cornerback from outside the organization.
“It’s a position that we continue to look, you know, even outside, as we do every position — we’re always going to try to bring in guys to create as much competition at that spot,” Pederson said. “Obviously, it’s a spot that we want to keep our eye on throughout camp.”
Pederson didn’t provide any hints as to whom the Eagles might target. Still, he began his answer about Gratz’s release by saying the team — known for its willingness to make unconventional roster moves — is considering outside options at cornerback.
For now, the Eagles’ cornerbacks room consists of Patrick Robinson (49 career starts), sixth-year veteran Ron Brooks (mostly a slot-covering specialist), second-year pro Jalen Mills (2 career starts) and a crop of younger players aiming to carve out NFL careers. While third-round rookie Rasul Douglas and former CFL star Aaron Grymes present intriguing possibilities, neither stands as an established NFL player.
With Gratz out of the mix, the Eagles’ inexperienced corners will have more room to vie for playing time.
“It gives a couple of our younger guys — Jalen Mills and guys like that — a chance to really get in here and get valuable reps,” Pederson said Monday.
And Gratz’s release does one other thing: It opens a roster spot the Eagles could use to trade for or sign a veteran corner.