Eagles

Eagles

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a hard-hitting safety from Florida with tremendous versatility. He can play virtually anywhere — single high, in the slot, in the box and he may even be able to work in at outside corner, and that versatility makes him one of the most coveted defensive back prospects in this year's draft. 

He does need more consistency in his game and sometimes is a victim of a lack of discipline in his technique, but he's also athletic and physical enough to make up for his mistakes. His biggest strength is in coverage, and his versatility will allow him to cover backs, tight ends or receivers. 

Gardner-Johnson needs to be more consistent as a tackler, but he has improved significantly in that area.

Current roster at S: With Corey Graham presumably retired and Andrew Sendejo about to turn 32, the Eagles don't really have a consensus third safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.

Tra Sullivan had some promising moments the second half of last year and will certainly be in the mix in camp, but this is a position where the Eagles could use an infusion of young talent.

How he would fit: Jenkins and McLeod are the starters for now, but McLeod is unsigned beyond 2019, and Jenkins is up after 2020, and while it's hard to imagine Jenkins not being here and he's still playing at an elite level, he does turn 32 during the upcoming season, is headed into his 11th NFL season and has so many interests outside of football. It'll be interesting to see how long he continues to play.

 

So Gardner-Johnson would have a chance to be the third safety while playing special teams immediately and could work into the mix at the slot depending on how the secondary sorts itself out during camp.

Eagles history in the draft at S: The Eagles have drafted combo D-backs with corner-safety skills like Jaylen Watkins and Avonte Maddox in the fourth rounds of the 2014 and 2018 draft, but they haven't taken a pure safety in the first three rounds since they used one of the Donovan McNabb trade picks from the Redskins on Nate Allen in the second round back in 2010. 

Before that, you have to go back to Michael Lewis in the second round in 2002 and Dawk in the second round in 1996.

The Eagles have never drafted a true safety in the first round. Ben Smith, a first-round pick in 1990, started at corner and became a safety. Leroy Keyes, a first-round pick in 1969, was drafted as a running back but became a safety later. 

Other options at 25