How good can the Eagles defense be after signing CB James Bradberry

Eagles General Manager/Executive V.P. Howie Roseman’s busy off-season continued on Wednesday as the Eagles added a former Pro Bowler in free agent cornerback James Bradberry.

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms on a one-year, $10 million deal with Bradberry, who was released earlier in the off-season by the New York Giants.

Bradberry shores up the back-end of the Eagles secondary, slotting in next to Darius Slay as the Eagles number two corner. Bradberry had been linked to the Eagles since New York released him on May 9.

The six-year veteran has started 91 games and amassed 15 interceptions and 82 pass break-ups according to Pro Football Reference. Last season, Bradberry started 16 games and led the Giants in pass break-ups (17) and snagged four interceptions. He was targeted 115 times in coverage and allowed 71 completions for 848 yards.

Bradberry is a long and physical corner at 6-foot-1 and 211 pounds. He also sports incredible 333/8″ arms.

Bradberry can be an instant impact addition to a secondary that needed him in the worst way. Before signing Bradberry, the Eagles were looking to the likes of Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, or UDFA signings Josh Jobe and Mario Goodrich to take the reigns opposite Darius Slay.

The former Pro Bowler gives the Eagles an experienced corner with high IQ. One of Bradberry’s best qualities is his ability to understand what he’s seeing. He’s adept at reading opposing quarterback’s eyes and understanding route combinations.

Bradberry has seen a lot. From his early days in the NFL covering the likes of NFC South receivers Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas to his more recent time in the NFC East, where he was tasked with covering receivers like Terry McLaurin and Amari Cooper.

James Bradberry is a hand in glove fit for Jonathan Gannon’s defense, which asked it’s corners to play large amounts of zone coverage with man coverage principles. In 2020, Bradberry allowed the lowest passer rating in zone coverage in the NFL. Bradberry is also very physical at the catch point, evidenced by his aforementioned 82 career pass break-ups.

This is a signing that flat out makes the defense better. Bradberry legitimizes the Eagles cornerback room and raises the ceiling for what the 2022 Eagles defense can be.

The Eagles were a zone heavy team last season. Gannon’s M.O. was to limit explosive pass plays. The Eagles did that, allowing the least amount of explosive pass plays in the NFL a year ago. However, teams were able to nickel and dime their way down the field on the Eagles defense. Last season, Philadelphia’s defense ranked 23rd in opponent conversion rate on third down. They allowed the highest completion percentage in the NFL at 69.4%.

They’ve added players who they hope will make wholesale impact at every level of the defense.

They added two sideline-to-sideline linebackers in 2021 Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean and Kyzir White who had a career year last season with the Los Angeles Chargers where he had totaled 144 tackles and two interceptions, ranked 3rd in passer rating allowed in man coverage, and 13th in passer rating allowed in zone coverage among linebackers.

They also now have a massive and powerful run stuffing–chaos creating nose tackle in Jordan Davis.

And they now have a trio of corners in Slay, Avonte Maddox and Bradberry who have broken up 97 passes over the last three seasons.

Cover Image Credit: Derik Hamilton/AP

Author: Pierrot Baptiste Jr.

I am the creator of The Philly Blitz and I am committed to delivering innovative and interesting coverage on both the Eagles and Sixers. Contact Information: Twitter - @pierreb3_ Email: pierrotjr3@gmail.com

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