The Eagles went into the 2011 NFL Draft needing a cornerback and offensive linemen more than anything else. They got their offensive lineman in the first round, selecting Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins, but waited until the third round to select a cornerback, Utah State's Curtis Marsh.
The Eagles do have Asante Samuel to patrol one side of the field in the secondary, but the other side is completely up for grabs, and if the Eagles plan to have a pass defense that's better than No. 14 in 2012 to help them win the NFL East and go far in the playoffs, they'll probably need to address the cornerback position once the lockout is lifted and free agency opens.
One SB Nation Philadelphia contributor, Tommy Lawlor, believes that the Eagles could look to the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph for the answer, even though he doesn't believe Joseph is the right guy for the job.
How would Joseph fit in with the Eagles? He's not an ideal fit. In a lot of ways he reminds me of a lesser version of Asante Samuel. Joseph, like Samuel, spends most of his time at left corner. Both guys are best when playing off. I'm sure Joseph could play the other side, but you have to think about the situation. He's going to get a pretty big contract. You want to put Joseph in a position to succeed. That means letting him do what he's used to doing and not trying to change him too much. With Samuel playing off as much as he does I'm sure the Eagles would prefer the new corner to be a guy who likes to press and be physical. It would also help to have someone that is comfortable on the right side.
Another reason that Joseph might not be the best guy for the job, according to Lawlor, is his durability.
One other concern with Joseph is durability. He missed time in college with a foot injury. He missed a game in 2007. He missed half the season in 2008 due to injury. He also missed four games last year. 2009 was the only season when he started all 16 games.
Talented cornerbacks are going to be in high demand once the lockout does come to an end and the two biggest names on the list of free agents are Nnamdi Asomugha and Joseph. Teams won't necessarily be able to be super picky when it comes to finding a talented cornerback to help push their defense to the next level. That's why Lawlor, who doesn't think spending a large chunk of money on Joseph would be the smartest thing in the world because he might not be a perfect fit, still wouldn't necessarily complain if the Eagles signed him.
I don't think signing Joseph would be dumb necessarily. He's talented and in the prime of his career. There is certainly plenty to like about him.
Let's hope that the Bengals can re-sign Joseph before the Eagles, or any other team that may be interested, have a chance to even think about inviting him for a workout.