The Eagles both signed five-year starter Terrell Edmunds and used a third-round pick on Sydney Brown. Both safeties factor into the team’s plans, but they are not outflanking Reed Blankenship thus far through training camp. Blankenship has been a first-team mainstay, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who adds Edmunds and Brown have rotated at the other safety spot. Indeed, The Athletic’s Zach Berman notes Blankenship — a 2022 UDFA out of Middle Tennessee State — has been the Eagles’ top safety in camp (subscription required).
This reminds of Marcus Epps‘ rise last year. Despite the Eagles re-signing Anthony Harris and adding Jaquiski Tartt in 2022, Epps earned a starting job — one that eventually led to a two-year, $12MM Raiders payday. The Eagles brought in C.J. Gardner-Johnson via trade just before last season. That transaction could signal none of Philly’s safeties should be too comfortable, but Blankenship — Gardner-Johnson’s injury sub last year who played 291 defensive snaps — looks like the best bet to start among the in-house group.
Here is the latest from the NFC East:
- Staying on the subject of safeties in this division, the Giants may be moving toward giving Jason Pinnock the starting job alongside Xavier McKinney. A Jets fifth-round pick in 2021, Pinnock started five games for the Giants last year, operating as McKinney’s injury fill-in. He has received consistent first-team work in camp, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan notes. Pinnock has distanced himself from Dane Belton and veteran Bobby McCain, having been Big Blue’s first-teamer since the fourth training camp practice. The Giants, who lost Julian Love in free agency, claimed Pinnock shortly after the Jets waived the converted cornerback on cutdown day last year. Two seasons remain on Pinnock’s rookie contract.
- Malik Hooker‘s 2023 Cowboys cap hit climbed from $4.32MM to $4.57MM as a result of his recent extension, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. The incentives in the three-year, $21MM contract include $500K bumps involving playing time and INT production. Five picks and the Cowboys making the playoffs would result in a $500K increase, Archer adds, noting the other incentive requires Hooker to play 85% of Dallas’ defensive snaps and the team to make the postseason (Twitter link).
- The Cowboys, who turned Micah Parsons from an off-ball linebacker to a fearsome edge rusher, are giving Leighton Vander Esch some reps on the edge, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes. While the sixth-year linebacker received sparse edge work in games last season, Gehlken adds this is the first time he has received extensive instruction in a defensive end role. Rostering Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler and Sam Williams, the Cowboys are much deeper on the edge than at linebacker. It would stand to reason LVE’s role will likely remain mostly as an off-ball defender.
- The Giants recently added longtime safety Mike Adams to their coaching staff, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. A 16-year veteran, Adams will replace Anthony Blevins as the Giants’ assistant defensive backs coach, the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard adds (on Twitter). Adams, 42, hung up his cleats after the 2019 season. Blevins left the Giants during the summer to accept an XFL HC position.
- While Devon Allen did not see any game action for the Eagles last season, Berman writes the two-time Olympian hurdler is in play to make the team as a backup this year. Allen, 28, has not played in a game since working as an Oregon slot receiver in 2016. Shifting to track full-time proved beneficial for Allen, who is one of the best 110-meter hurdlers in U.S. history. But he opted to give football another try last year. He suffered an injury at the U.S. Championships last month, exiting the 110 hurdles competition before the finals in order to preserve his body for his second Eagles camp. The Eagles activated Allen from the PUP list Tuesday.
- Given a reserve/futures deal along with Allen in February, Matt Leo landed on the Eagles’ reserve/retired list last month. The team hired the former practice squad defensive end a defensive and football operations assistant.