It isn’t hard to figure out why Will Parks is a perfect fit for the Eagles and why the Eagles are a perfect fit for Will Parks.
And it goes way beyond that fact that he’s a Philly native.
Parks, 25, is officially listed a safety but he does way more than that. During his four years in Denver before joining the Eagles on a one-year deal last week, the Broncos played the versatile defensive back at multiple positions and all over the field.
I have a strong suit and my strong suit is being able to be moved around,” Parks said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. “I could line up at safety one snap, the very next down go to Dime ‘backer, the very next snap go to Nickel, the very next snap go to corner, the very next snap I’ll probably line up in the A-gap in the 0-shade technique. You know what I mean? Anything I can do to help this team win.
Parks is right. The snap count breakdown from ProFootballFocus shows just how many different positions Parks played with the Broncos during the first four years of his NFL career.
They played him everywhere.
One of the big reasons Parks wanted to come to the Eagles — he reportedly had more lucrative offers — was because of the role he’ll play in the defense. The Eagles don’t want him to play just one position and the ability to move around is what was really important to Parks.
“It was more about the situation, how they use their guys, guys like me,” Parks said. “Going to a team, the one thing I want to know is how they’re going to be used. Whether it’s this position, that position, this position. And all those boxes were checked with the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
It should. Because since Jim Schwartz took over as Eagles defensive coordinator in 2016, that versatile piece for him had been Malcolm Jenkins, who is now a Saint. We’re not comparing Parks to Jenkins; that would be unfair. Jenkins is a three-time Pro Bowler who never missed a play and Parks played 50 percent of the Broncos’ defensive snaps last season.
But the similarity in usage is definitely worth pointing out.
It won’t be easy for the Eagles to replace Jenkins in 2020 but they have a couple options. For now, the Eagles seem keen on the idea of moving Jalen Mills from cornerback to safety to replace Jenkins. It’s a similar role to the one he sometimes had at LSU and he has an advantage in this unusual offseason because of his knowledge of the Eagles’ defense. If Mills takes over for Jenkins, then Parks will still have a role as a third safety.
This thing is fluid, though, and I wouldn’t completely rule out Parks as a guy who could fit that Jenkins role too, especially if the Eagles don’t find another quality corner to play opposite Darius Slay and they need Mills to play corner. And don’t forget, Mills has missed nearly as many games as he’s played over the last two years.
One thing is clear: Parks’ goal is to be a starter.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be in the NFL if my objective, if my end goal, wasn’t to start,” Parks said. “I wouldn’t want any team to pick me up if I didn’t say that. So absolutely.”
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