As we get near the start of the Eagles' 2018 training camp, we're going to take a closer look at some of the key position battles to watch this summer.
Today, we'll look at the third safety.
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Names to know
Tre Sullivan, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Reaves, Corey Graham
What to watch
We know the top two safety spots are claimed already. Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins are going to be on the field. But Jenkins' versatility makes things trickier. The Eagles used Jenkins as a nickel corner and a linebacker plenty last year, but the only reason they were able to do that is because they felt comfortable leaving the back end with McLeod and Graham. A lot of Jenkins at linebacker was out of necessity without Jordan Hicks, but Jim Schwartz won't want to lose that versatility. That makes the third safety position so important.
So who are the players? Well, for now, Sullivan is probably in the lead. The second-year guy from Shepherd University is highly respected in the NovaCare Complex. But is he really ready to go from practice squad to serious contributor? The Eagles should really see what they have but that's a big jump.
There's also Chris Maragos and Jeremy Reaves. One is a veteran special teamer coming off a serious injury. The other is an unproven undrafted - but talented - rookie. It seems unlikely either of them are going to be given this responsibility. Just a few years ago, Maragos was a real player on defense, but he struggled in that role and he's probably better off making his contributions as a special teamer. He's really one of the best in the league.
And, did we mention that Graham is still on the street?
I think the Eagles sign Graham to another one-year deal to take back that spot. He was a really underrated free agent pickup a year ago and as long as he still wants to play, the Eagles need to make this work. They need the depth at this position and while it would make sense for some teams to go with younger depth, this guy will play this year and could help them win another championship.