Eagles Bolster Defense with LB, Add Hybrid Safety-Cornerback

Will Parks

Getty Broncos safety Will Parks is a hybrid player who would be a perfect fit for the Eagles in free agency.

The Eagles had been hearing it for not plugging up key holes at safety and linebacker. Hopefully, they changed opinions with their two latest moves.

Philadelphia handed out cheap one-year deals to Jatavis Brown and Will Parks on Saturday in an effort to bolster defensive depth. Brown, a four-year veteran at inside linebacker, should get a chance to start immediately for the Eagles following the free-agent departures of Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill.

The 26-year-old started 22 games for the Chargers from 2016 through 2018 before seeing his snaps decrease in 2019. He did miss three preseason games due to a sprained ankle incurred back in 2018. Brown has seen time at inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, as well as middle and outside backer in 4-3 schemes. Brown is versatile and despite concerns that he is undersized (5-foot-11, 221 pounds) outweighs current Eagles starting linebacker Nate Gerry by about 12 pounds.

A former fifth-round pick in 2016, Brown has accumulated 265 total tackles and 14 tackles for loss in four seasons. The University of Akron product also has three forced fumbles, 4.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits. He was considered a viable contributor on special teams where he saw 51-percent of the snaps last season.

“He has versatility,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said about Brown in 2018, via ESPN. “He plays Mike [linebacker], he plays Will [linebacker]. He comes in and plays nickel, he plays dime.”

Will Parks Can Play Cornerback or Safety

There’s nothing like a good homecoming story, right? Will Parks is the new leading man in that role. Parks, a Philly native and graduate of Germantown High School, reportedly took a discounted rate to play for his hometown team after the Eagles signed him to a one-year deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal is for $1.6 million fully guaranteed, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala.

Parks to the Eagles seemed to be in the works for weeks, most recently after he appeared on NFL Network’s “Good Morning, Football” show and talked about the possibility of returning home. The move just made too much sense for the Eagles after losing safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Ronald Darby. Parks (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) is a guy who started at strong safety for the Broncos in 2019 while spending time in the slot as a nickel cornerback.

A former sixth-round pick in 2016, Parks has racked up 149 total tackles and four interceptions in four seasons. The University of Arizona product also has two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 13 passes defensed.

He has started 15 games for the Broncos since 2016, including making seven starts last year. More importantly, the 25-year-old plays all over the field and doesn’t mind running out on special teams. His preference for heading into free agency was to be a starter somewhere.

“They’re going to have to put every position on there,” Parks told Denver9’s Mike Klis in 2019 regarding his player profile. “I want to be in a position where I’m a starter and be in a position where I’m the leader.”

The Eagles appear content to fill their secondary with players who can rotate in and out at different positions, and Parks fits that band-aid kind of role. He could be groomed to take over a starting role at outside corner while pushing Avonte Maddox or Sidney Jones for snaps as the nickel backer. Parks could also provide reliable insurance at safety should Jalen Mills fail to make the transition.

Nelson Agholor Heads to Las Vegas Raiders

The chances of Nelson Agholor returning to Philly in 2020 were slim to none. (Insert your own “Unlike Agholor” joke here). Jokes aside, Agholor never lived up to the first-round hype surrounding him — and now he’s gone, banished to Las Vegas.

The Raiders signed the slot receiver to a one-year contract and the change of scenery might do him well. Agholor, who drew the ire of Eagles fans everywhere for his drops last year, wasn’t all bad in Philadelphia.

His breakout campaign came during the Super Bowl-winning season when he recorded 62 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. Agholor dealt with a series of nagging injuries in 2019 before a knee injury shut him down.

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