ESPN BOTTOM LINE

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eagles Targeting Highly Regarded Cornerback?

From: GCOBB.com

With free agency still up in the air, it is starting to become a reality that the Eagles may be forced to address the cornerback situation through the draft.

If that is the case, the name of a potential player the Eagles could be targeting has surfaced. Prince Amukamara, a cornerback out of Nebraska, has been mentioned as a player the Eagles may be interested in.

While rumors of a team’s interest in a prospect fly like crazy this time of year, Amukamara is the type of player that could start on this defense from Week 1.

Amukamara is ranked 9th overall on ESPN, and as the 2nd best cornerback in the draft. Amukamara stands tall at 6’0 with long arms, and ran a 40 time of 4.43 seconds. That is only .15 seconds slower then the fastest time at the combine.

Scouts list his natural instincts as Amukamara’s best quality, and praise his ability to force a receiver off of his route. This style of play could be music to new Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s ears, as he wants to play a more aggressive style of defense. Too many times last season the receivers were able to come off of the line clean because of Dmitri Patterson and Asante Samuel. This was particularly a problem in the red zone for the Birds.

A red flag to me on Amukamara is his lack of interceptions. He had only 5 in all four seasons at Nebraska, with all of them coming his junior season. It could be that opposing offenses stayed away from him during his senior season. But while he has great instincts, scouts mention that he has some problem recognizing routes and anticipating routes.

This is probably the real reason he forced no turnovers last year. Interceptions happen from recognizing routes and jumping them. This would go down as a major red flag in my book.

ESPN also praises Amukamara’s play against the run, crediting his solid tackling as a major reason he is so effective against it.

Right now, Amukamara is projected to go in the top 10. The Eagles would have to move up to get him, but I do not see him going in the top 10. The Eagles could get into the top ten if the bidding war for Kevin Kolb really heats up. The teams in the top ten that could be potential landing spots for Kolb would be Arizona (5) and Tennessee (8).

Personally, I only think the Eagles make a move into the top 10 if Nick Fairley or Patrick Peterson begin to drop- I don’t see them moving up to get Amukamara.

Whether the Eagles will move up to get Amukamara, or if when free agency begins they sign Nmandi Asomugha, one thing is clear from the rumors this off season- that cornerback is a priority for the team.

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