The more you listen to Howie Roseman, the clearer the plan is for Avonte Maddox.
Roseman on Thursday heaped some pretty lavish praise on Maddox when asked whether he sees him as purely a nickel or whether he thinks he has the ability at 5-9 to be a full-time outside cornerback.
If that’s the plan – and it sure appears it is – it makes the Eagles’ secondary plan much, much clearer.
I grew up admiring the Darrell Greens and Aaron Glenns of the world, and these guys, they’re explosive, twitched-up guys who had an incredible vertical, and it’s hard to get the ball on them,” Roseman said. “Avonte’s got a lot of those same characteristics.
Did Howie just compare Avonte Maddox to Darrell Green and Aaron Glenn?
Green spent all 20 of his NFL seasons with the Redskins, making seven Pro Bowls before retiring after the 2002 season and heading straight to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Glenn spent most of his career with the Jets and made three Pro Bowls during his 15-year career.
Both were 5-9. Maddox is 5-9.
If Roseman projects Maddox and Darius Slay at outside corner and Jalen Mills or Will Parks at safety alongside Rodney McLeod, that leaves Cre’von LeBlanc and newcomer Nickell Robey-Coleman to compete at the slot and likely leaves 2017 draft picks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas outside looking in.
Especially with the liklihood that the Eagles will draft a corner in the second or third round.
Maddox has played all over the secondary since the Eagles drafted him in the fourth round out of Pitt in 2018, but the slot seems like his strongest position.
But the Eagles have a shortage of outside corners and a surplus of nickels.
Slay's presence means the Eagles’ other outside corner will rarely be opposite the opposing team’s top receiver.
Can Maddox handle it?
This is a guy who has started on the outside for us in playoff games, he has the ability to have sticky coverage with receivers inside or out,” Roseman said. “Obviously, he’s also played in the back end. He’s got a great mentality, and he’s got a great physical skill set. He’s an explosive, twitched-up guy as well, so yeah, we feel like he’s a guy who can play all over the secondary and certainly feel comfortable with him outside as well.
Maddox, who turns 24 on Tuesday, has started 15 games in his first two seasons, has two INTs, 14 pass knockdowns, two forced fumbles and 1 ½ sacks.
Roseman made one more comparison. He just didn’t say who he was comparing him to.
“If you look at his profile, his height, his length, and then you see there’s a guy who got drafted in the top five who’s a very similar tale of the tape,” he said. “And so nobody is talking about him in the same way.”
Roseman was most likely talking about Denzel Ward, who was the fourth pick in that same 2018 draft that produced Maddox, and is now a Pro Bowler with the Browns.
So in the span of 60 seconds, Howie compared Maddox to a Hall of Famer, a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the most promising young outside corners in the league.
The Eagles don’t need Maddox to be a Hall of Famer, just a solid, smart, physical, athletic presence at outside corner.
And it sure sounds like he’s going to get the opportunity to prove he can be just that.
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