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Training Camp Preview: Safety


The full team will be on the practice field Thursday at the NovaCare Complex for the first time this week. Rookies and veterans alike will take part as Training Camp officially swings into full gear. In the final Training Camp Position Preview of the series, here's what you need to know about the Eagles' safeties heading into the 2016 season ...

Jenkins, McLeod Aim To Be NFL's Best

This offseason, the Eagles worked diligently to shore up their starting safety tandem for years to come by signing Malcolm Jenkins to a five-year contract extension and bringing in free agent Rodney McLeod, who signed a five-year deal with the team.

Jenkins is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and has been a force to be reckoned with in the Eagles' secondary. In 2015, he started all 16 games for the Birds and notched 120 tackles, 15 passes defensed and three forced fumbles, all of which were both career and team highs. McLeod also had himself an impressive season during his final year with the Rams, recording 106 tackles, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles. By the end of 2015, Pro Football Focus graded Jenkins as the best safety in the league and McLeod ranked 10th at his position.

Both safeties will be playing under Jim Schwartz for the first time this season and the defensive coordinator has already been impressed with their work ethic. Back in May during the team's OTAs, Schwartz told reporters that he'd be "very surprised as the year went along if they're not one of the better safety tandems in the NFL."  Now, the two have all of Training Camp to build their chemistry and work toward becoming the league's top safety duo.

In the final Training Camp position preview, get to know the Eagles' safeties who have a wide range of skills and experience...

Third Safety?

Although the Eagles' starting safeties are pretty much set in stone, the team also has Blake Countess, Chris Maragos, Nick Perry and Ed Reynolds on the roster. Maragos and Reynolds both saw game action last season. Maragos, a key special teams contributor, made two starts, while Reynolds tallied three after he was brought up from the practice squad in November.

Countess, the team's 2016 sixth-round draft pick, could also be in the mix to be a contributor early on in his career. Last season as a graduate transfer at Auburn, he started all 13 contests and finished with 71 tackles, 11 passes defensed and two interceptions. The team also added Perry just prior to the start of Training Camp, who spent 2015 on the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad.

Any of these safeties could make a play for a bigger role on the Eagles' defense this season.

Training Camp Roster: Safety
Name Age Exp. Signed Through 2015 Games Played (Started)
Blake Countess 22 R 2019 Rookie
Malcolm Jenkins 28 8 2020 16 (16)
Chris Maragos 29 7 2016 15 (2)
Rodney McLeod 26 5 2020 16 (16)
Nick Perry 24 1 2016 Ravens Practice Squad
Ed Reynolds 24 2 2016 6 (3)

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