Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon embraces the opportunity to leverage the versatility of his players. In this Training Camp alone, the Eagles have utilized players like Josiah Scott, who was acquired last offseason as a nickel cornerback and cross-trained him at safety.
On Monday, as the Eagles prepare for the first cutdown to 85 players, the team acquired another player who will add depth and versatility to the back end of Gannon's defense. Philadelphia received defensive back – not exclusively a cornerback or a safety – Ugo Amadi in exchange for tight end J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
A former fourth-round pick out of Oregon in 2019, Amadi brings experience on top of versatility. In his first three NFL seasons, the 5-foot-9, 201-pound Amadi has lined up in 47 regular-season games, while starting 12 contests (seven last season alone). Even when not contributing on defense, Amadi has played 580 special teams snaps in his career. In 2021, the Seahawks utilized Amadi as a nickel corner, a box player, and a deep safety which made him an attractive option for the Eagles, who keep detailed notes on players throughout the league if a chance to acquire them becomes available.
A Stanford product, Arcega-Whiteside returns to the West Coast for an opportunity to make the Seahawks roster after transitioning from wide receiver to tight end this offseason. Unfortunately for the 25-year old, the tight end position is stocked with young and developing talent stocked with young and developing talent, led by Dallas Goedert, making it tough sledding for Arcega-Whiteside to take hold. In addition to Goedert, the Eagles have Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, Noah Togiai, and Tyree Jackson set to come off the Physically Unable to Perform list any day now. Of course, there is the trusted veteran Richard Rodgers in the room.
The defensive backfield now features the top trio at cornerback with Big Play Slay and James Bradberry on the outside, and Avonte Maddox in the slot. At safety, Marcus Epps has had an outstanding Training Camp and Anthony Harris provides a steady presence and leadership, while veteran Jaquiski Tartt returned to the practice field after missing time for a personal matter. Amadi joins a young and hungry slew of defensive backs looking to prove their value over these next few weeks.
The Eagles improved the depth of the defense and special teams on Monday, while giving a well-liked player a chance to make it elsewhere. As the Eagles must get to the 85-player limit by 4 PM on Tuesday, they took a step to make sure that they are even stronger through the entire roster before embarking on a set of joint practices and the second preseason game in Cleveland.