Can rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox fill the void left by Patrick Robinson?
10 May 2018 Eagles News
When the Eagles signed Patrick Robinson last season, at first, he did not look like he’d even make the team. A move to nickel cornerback resurrected his career and Robinson thrived last year for the Eagles. Now, after just one year, Robinson has moved on, leaving the Eagles with a problem at nickel.
Right now there isn’t one particular player you can point to that will be the Eagles starting nickel cornerback. They have Jalen Mills, but his lack of short yardage quickness might hurt him there, besides the fact that he was one of the Eagles best defensive players in the playoffs for the Eagles starting outside for them. You can move him inside, but the Eagles might just want to keep him where they know he can produce for them.
There is a player on the roster, who just signed yesterday in fact, who might just get the first nod at the job. And, that player is cornerback Avonte Maddox. Here’s an interesting quote from Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro.
“It’s likely that Maddox will get an early look as a nickel cornerback, so how quickly he picks up on the nuances of the scheme, the way receivers use their veteran tricks to create separation, and all of the parts of the game that are more subtle are going to be key to how fast he factors into the defense.”
By no means, is nickel cornerback an easy position in the NFL. A lot of the times rookies are thrown in there and they struggle. However, if there is one cornerback that can handle it, it is Maddox. Maddox has on paper and film what it takes to be a good nickel cornerback in the league. He’s really athletic in coverage, possesses short area quickness and is a great tackler, but almost more important than all of that, he’s a hard worker, leader, and a very smart player. He’s not perfect, he has some flaws in coverage that need to get worked on by the staff, but from what we see from Cory Undlin, he can work with what Maddox brings to the table.
There’s going to be a learning curve this offseason and preseason for Maddox, but you best believe it, the Eagles are hoping he’s their answer in the slot. It would be a huge help to them if they do not have to move any of the outside cornerbacks and put them inside. Maddox will have his shot to start in the slot, it is up to him to take it and run.
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