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Training Camp Preview: Cornerback


With Day 2 of Training Camp complete, it's time for the remainder of the Eagles' veterans to report to the NovaCare Complex. By Wednesday afternoon, the team will have 11 cornerbacks competing for roster spots. Let's take a quick look at those players in our second-to-last Training Camp Position Preview ...

Who Will Be The Starters?

Arguably the biggest question mark surrounding the Eagles' secondary this season is who will be the team's starting cornerbacks. During the 2016 offseason, the Eagles brought in Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks in free agency, re-signed Nolan Carroll to a one-year deal and drafted seventh-round pick Jalen Mills. Additionally, Eric Rowe is entering his sophomore season after a promising end to 2015.

During OTAs in the spring, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that of the cornerbacks McKelvin has "stood out the most to" him. However, Carroll was limited during those practices as he continued to rehab a season-ending injury he sustained last Thanksgiving Day. As a starter for the Eagles' in 2015, Carroll registered 54 tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six.

Will Carroll retake his job and start alongside McKelvin? Did Rowe's play when he filled in for Carroll last season prove he deserves a shot? Will Brooks or Mills impress and run away with the job? Of all the position battles set to take place over the next few weeks, this one may be the most competitive.

Brooks And McKelvin Reunite With Schwartz

When Brooks and McKelvin signed with the Eagles this offseason, they did so knowing full well they'd be playing in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's system again, just as they did with the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

That season, Brooks played in 14 games with one start and finished the year with a career-best 24 tackles and two tackles for loss. McKelvin also had one of his best seasons in 2014 under Schwartz before a fractured ankle in Week 11 sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Before that injury, McKelvin recorded four interceptions and was on track set a new career high in tackles.

By coming to Philadelphia, both players have sights set on returning to their 2014 form. With their previous knowledge of Schwartz's system, it will be interesting to see what these two are able to accomplish in Training Camp.

Rowe Enters Year 2

A second-round pick in 2015, Rowe was thrown into action his rookie season when Carroll went down in Week 11. While his initial performance against former Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson wasn't his best, the corner quickly learned from his mistakes, adapted and made steady improvements during his remaining five starts of the year.

What will Year 2 bring for Rowe? Earlier this week, Pederson explained there were some "hiccups in the road a little bit this offseason" for the second-year corner. Rowe will need to come out strong in camp to prove he can continue to develop and be a dependable part of the team's defense.

It will be one of the best position battles during Training Camp. Learn more about the cornerbacks with the veterans scheduled to report Wednesday.

Mills' Impact

A four-year starter at LSU, Mills fell to the seventh round of this year's draft before the Eagles selected him. Nevertheless, the corner will get opportunities to make an impression this Training Camp and could very well earn a big role on the Eagles' defense this season.

The rookie finished his collegiate career with 216 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks and six interceptions in 46 games played with 45 starts for the Tigers.

Training Camp Roster: Cornerback
Name Age Exp. Signed Through 2015 Games Played (Started)
Ron Brooks 27 5 2018 13 (0)
Nolan Carroll 29 7 2016 11 (11)
Randall Evans 24 1 2016 1 (0)
Aaron Grymes 25 1 2018 CFL
Leodis McKelvin 30 9 2017 9 (5)
Jalen Mills 22 R 2019 Rookie
Denzel Rice 23 2 2017 4 (0)
Eric Rowe 23 2 2018 16 (5)
JaCorey Shepherd 23 2 2018 IR
C.J. Smith 23 R 2018 Rookie
Jaylen Watkins 24 2 2016 4 (0)

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