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July 13, 2015

Eagles appear to highly value pass breakups from defensive backs

Eagles NFL
071315JaCoreyShepherd2 Chris Jackson/AP

Eagles CB JaCorey Shepherd led all drafted cornerbacks with 28 pass breakups over the last two seasons.

Back in April, prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, Eagles quasi-GM Ed Marynowitz laid out how the Eagles value draft prospects, from a big-picture level, in three parts. Those three parts were height-weight-speed, position specifics, and character.

On the "position specifics" front, evidence would clearly indicate that the Eagles prioritize defensive backs who get their hands on the ball. I aggregated the number of pass breakups that each of the 31 cornerbacks that were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft had in 2013 and 2014. The three corners the Eagles drafted all landed among the top six players in that category, including the #1 overall player, sixth round pick JaCorey Shepherd:

Player Team PBU - 2014 PBU - 2013 TOTAL 
 JaCorey ShepherdEagles 15 13 28 
 Darryl RobertsPatriots 17 24 
 Dexter McDonaldRaiders 13 10 23 
 Randall EvansEagles 10 12 22 
 D'Joun SmithColts 13 21 
 Eric RoweEagles 13 20 
 Craig MagerChargers 10 19 
 Doran GrantSteelers 10 19 
 Kevin JohnsonTexans 12 18 
 Lorenzo DossBroncos 18 
 P.J. WilliamsSaints 10 17 
 Alex CarterLions 17 
 Charles GainesBrowns 10 17 
 Marcus PetersChiefs 16 
 Steven NelsonChiefs 16 
 Damian SwannSaints 16 
 Quandre DiggsLions 10 15 
 Ifo Ekpre-OlomuBrowns 15 
 Trae WaynesVikings 13 
 Tevin MitchelRedskins 13 
 Byron JonesCowboys 12 
 Jalen CollinsFalcons 11 
 Senquez GolsonSteelers 11 
 Quinten RollinsPackers 
 Ronald DarbyBills 
 Bobby McCainDolphins 
 Josh ShawBengals 
 Taurean NixonBroncos 
 Akeem KingFalcons 
 Tray Walker*Ravens N/A N/A N/A 
 Tye Smith*Seahawks N/A N/A N/A 

*PBU stats for Tray Walker and Tye Smith could not be located.

Additionally:

• The Eagles brought in the #2 player on the list, Darryl Roberts, for a pre-draft visit.

• The only undrafted defensive back the Eagles signed was Coastal Carolina's Denzel Rice, who had 22 pass breakups the last two years, which would tie him with Randall Evans for 4th on the list.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski