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Position Preview: Cornerback

Posted May 7, 2014

A Look At The Cornerbacks
Name Age Exp. Signed Through Note
Brandon Boykin 23 3 2015 One of team's emerging talents.
Roc Carmichael 25 4 2014 Started two games in '13, ready for more?
Nolan Carroll 27 5 2015 Free-agent signee looking to make an impact.
Bradley Fletcher 27 6 2014 Steady as they come on the outside.
Curtis Marsh 26 4 2014 Important summer for former third-rounder.
Cary Williams 29 6 2015 Secondary's most important veteran.

Position Preview

The Big Questions

1. What's Next For Brandon Boykin?

Boykin emerged as the preeminent playmaker on the defense in 2013, only his second season in the NFL after joining the Eagles as a fourth-round pick out of Georgia in 2012. Boykin led the team with six interceptions and seemed to consistently make game-defining plays when it mattered most. In fact, four of Boykin's interceptions came in a game's final quarter.

So the question is not whether Boykin will have a major role in the defense next season, but rather whether he will get an opportunity to start on the outside. The coaching staff insists that Boykin's best role remains as the team's nickel cornerback, where he has become one of the league's best. Still young in his development process, Boykin can focus on perfecting his role. And at 5-foot-9, there are questions as to how well he will hold up on the outside.

But the idea that Boykin needs a bigger role is not exactly necessary. As the nickel corner, Boykin played more than 50 percent of the team's snaps in 2013. Whether it's strictly inside or across the formation, Boykin will be one of the most important Eagles in 2013.

2. Will Nolan Carroll Make An Impact?

With returning starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher to pair with Boykin inside, it seemed as if the Eagles were well-equipped with veteran cornerbacks entering free agency this offseason. But general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly took advantage of a value-opportunity when they brought aboard Carroll, the former Dolphins starting cornerback. The 27-year-old started 22 games over the last two seasons for Miami, and at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he appears to have the length the Eagles are looking for at the position. So will he push Fletcher or Williams for the starting job? If there's one thing we learned from Kelly's first season in charge, it's that he'll reward the best players with playing time. Carroll will have his chance.

3. Will Anyone Else Make A Move?

Beyond Boykin, Carroll and the two returning starters, there are only two other cornerbacks currently on the roster – former third-round pick Curtis Marsh and 25-year-old Roc Carmichael. The latter was added to the roster early in the 2013 season after beginning his career with the Houston Texans and started two games for the Eagles, faring fairly well. Marsh will have to prove himself in Training Camp once again to earn a roster spot.

Whether it's during this weekend's NFL Draft or in the rookie-free-agent signing period to follow, the Eagles will be expected to add some youth to the cornerback position simply for numbers' sake. But with four starting-caliber cornerbacks already on the roster, there's no shortage of talent at the position.

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