Eagles Insider

Another year of craziness in the Eagles' secondary

Eagles Insider

There’ve been 36 of them so far. And with three games left this year there’s plenty of time for that number to increase.

Since Doug Pederson became Eagles head coach and Jim Schwartz defensive coordinator in 2016, the Eagles have used 36 different defensive backs in 77 games.

Not to mention seven more d-backs who’ve played on special teams but haven’t gotten snaps on defense. And another 11 who’ve only been on the practice squad.

Add it up and that’s 54 defensive backs that Schwartz and his secondary coaches have gotten prepared to play.

Kevon Seymour, forced to play 35 snaps Sunday just a week after joining the Eagles, was the latest but hardly the first defensive back to find himself on the field soon after landing in Philly.

Week after week, year after year, injuries have forced the Eagles to play defensive backs who barely know the defense. So many have come and gone it’s really hard to keep track.

“It's certainly not an ideal situation,” Schwartz said. “But injuries happen in the NFL. Particularly at defensive back. Not only are there muscle pulls but they are generally smaller guys that take a lot of contact and things like that. So we've seen that firsthand.”

This is the third straight year the Eagles have been decimated by injuries in the secondary.

The Eagles used 10 defensive backs in 2016 and 11 in 2017 but 14 in 2018 and 2019 and 15 so far this year.

Even the most avid Eagles fan probably couldn’t name half these guys.

 

Aaron Grymes? Deiondre’ Hall? Terrance Brooks? Chandon Sullivan? De’Vante Bausby?

Who are these people?

It’s been standard-operating procedure around here for the Eagles to sign a defensive back off the scrap heap – the waiver wire, another team’s practice squad or even the unemployment line – and then have to play him a week later.

The challenge for Schwartz and defensive backs Marquand Manuel – and Cory Undlin before him – is to get these guys ready to play.

Very, very quickly.

“I think the biggest thing is you have to balance your game plan vs. the skill set of the guys that you have,” Schwartz said. “Every player has strengths. Every player has weaknesses. Whether you're up from the practice squad or you're a six-time Pro Bowl player, every player has strengths and weaknesses, and you have to balance what you need to do in the game plan vs. what your match-ups are and what the skill set of the players are.”

Of the 43 defensive backs who’ve been on the Eagles' active roster since 2016, only three have started as many as 30 games – Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills.

And 27 of the 43 were only here for one year. Eight of them are currently with other NFL teams.

When the Eagles faced the Saints in the 2018 playoffs, their defensive backs in uniform were Malcolm Jenkins, Rasul Douglas, Corey Graham, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Avonte Maddox, Josh Hawkins, Tre Sullivan and Deiondre’ Hall.

None of them will be in uniform Sunday when the Eagles face the Cards.

That's turnover.

Of the defensive backs on the 53-man roster the Eagles could have in uniform in Arizona – Mills, Marcus Epps, Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Grayland Arnold, Michael Jacquet, Kevin Seymour and K’Von Wallace along with potential practice squad call-ups Jameson Houston and Elijah Riley – only Epps and Mills were here last year.

That's turnover.

Despite all this, the Eagles are eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed this year.

Here’s a look at every Eagles defensive back over the past five years with their games played, starts, snaps played and current team if they’re still in the NFL:

  • *Malcolm Jenkins (2016-2019): 64 games, 64 starts, 4,018 snaps (Saints)
  • Rodney McLeod (2016-2020): 62 games, 62 starts, 3,903 snaps (Eagles)
  • Jalen Mills (2016-2020): 61 games, 47 starts, 3,425 snaps (Eagles)
  • Avonte Maddox (2018-2020): 35 games, 23 starts, 1,565 snaps (Eagles)
  • Rasul Douglas (2017-2019): 46 games, 18 starts, 1,549 snaps (Panthers)
  • Ronald Darby (2017-2019): 28 games, 27 starts, 1,427 snaps (Washington)
  • Corey Graham (2017-2018): 27 games, 10 starts, 1,022 snaps
  • *Nolan Carroll (2016): 16 games, 16 starts, 910 snaps
  • Darius Slay (2020): 13 games, 12 starts, 752 snaps (Eagles)
  • Patrick Robinson (2017): 16 game, 8 starts, 710 snaps (Saints)
  • Cre’Von LeBlanc (2018-2020): 21 games, 6 starts, 648 snaps (Eagles)
  • Sidney Jones (2017-2019): 22 games, 8 starts, 643 snaps (Jaguars)
  • Ron Brooks (2016): 6 games, 5 starts, 635 snaps
  • Leodis McKelvin (2016): 13 games, 12 starts, 586 snaps
  • *Jaylen Watkins (2016-2017): 28 games, 555 snaps (Chargers)
  • Nickell Robey-Coleman (2020): 13 games, 5 starts, 504 snaps (Eagles)
  • Marcus Epps (2019-2020): 18 game, 2 starts, 290 snaps (Eagles
  • Andrew Sendejo (2019): 9 games, 1 start, 234 snaps (Browns)
  • Tre Sullivan (2018): 12 games, 1 start, 220 snaps
  • Terrence Brooks (2016): 11 games, 0 starts, 165 snaps (Patriots)
  • Dexter McDougle (2017-2018): 10 games, 1 start, 159 snaps 
  • De’Vante Bausby (2018): 6 games, 1 start, 146 snaps 
  • Will Parks (2020): 6 games, 3 starts, 114 snaps (Broncos)
  • K’Von Wallace (2020): 12 games, 1 start, 97 snaps (Eagles)
  • Chandon Sullivan (2018): 5 games, 1 start, 87 snaps (Packers)
  • Orlando Scandrick (2019): 3 games, 1 start, 83 snaps
  • Craig James (2019-2020): 18 games, 1 start, 82 snaps (Eagles)
  • *Chris Maragos (2016-2017): 22 games, 1 start, 71 snaps
  • Michael Jacquet (2020): 5 games, 0 starts, 51 snaps (Eagles)
  • Kevon Seymour (2020): 1 game, 0 starts, 35 snaps (Eagles)
  • Trevor Williams (2020): 2 games, 0 starts, 34 snaps 
  • Rudy Ford (2019-2020): 15 games, 0 starts, 17 snaps (Eagles)
  • Johnathan Cyprien (2019): 4 games, 0 starts, 15 snap
  • Deiondre’ Hall (2018): 13 games, 0 starts, 6 snaps 
  • Elijah Rileyi (2020): 2 games, 0 starts, 2 snaps (Eagles)
  • C.J. Smith (2016): 10 games, 0 starts, 1 sna
  • Aaron Grymes (2016): 1 game, 0 starts, 0 snap
  • Grayland Arnold (2020): 4 games, 0 starts, 0 snaps (Eagles)
  • Jameson Houston (2020): 1 game, 0 starts, 0 snaps (Eagles)
  • Dwayne Gratz (2016): 0 games, 0 starts, 0 snaps
  • Trae Elston (2017): 1 game, 0 starts, 0 starts
  • Josh Hawkins (2018): 1 game, 0 starts, 0 snaps
  • Ryan Lewis (2019): 2 games, 0 starts, 0 snaps (Giants)

*Does not include games played or snaps with Eagles prior to 2016

Practice squad only

  • Duke Thomas (2016)
  • JaCorey Shepherd (2016)
  • Harold Jones-Quartey (2017)
  • D.J. Killings (2017)
  • Jeremiah McKinnon (2018)
  • D.J. White (2019)
  • Ajene Harris (2019)
  • Chris Johnson (2019)
  • Tremon Smith (2019)
  • Blake Countess (2020)
  • Lavert Hill (2020)

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