Time for Eagles to Move Sheldon Brown to Safety?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Friday, February 05, 2010

Sheldon Brown can certainly hit like a free safety.

I was on G. Cobb in the House Friday night over on VoiceAmericaSports.com with Garry Cobb and Micah Warren, and the topic of Sheldon Brown and the issue at free safety became a topic of discussion.

Everyone had their own opinions, but personally, I'm in favor of the switch for Sheldon. Speaking purely on where Sheldon would produce best, it makes sense.

As a corner he's very strong in zone coverage, but seems to lack the ability to stick with the more elite receivers he faces. Plaxico Burress, for instance, always seemed to torch Sheldon at the most inopportune times. As a safety, he would not have to face those elite receivers and would be free to roam the field like Brian Dawkins in his prime.

He doesn't hit quite as hard, but Reggie Bush will tell you he gets the job done.

The switch to free safety would not only put a spotlight on his strengths and downplay his weaknesses, but would fix the problem that the Eagles have had at free safety for the past two seasons.

The next logical step then, of course, would be to figure out who will start opposite Asante Samuel. Joselio Hanson is probably more suited as a nickel corner, so moving him to the starting spot would probably not work.

Absent a new CBA, Ellis Hobbs will become a restricted free agent and the Eagles will have him on board for at least one more season. It's possible that someone offers him a deal that the Eagles will not match, but it's unlikely considering he's coming off a season-ending neck injury.

Many no longer see Hobbs as a viable starter, but that wouldn't seem to make much sense considering the Patriots defense was one of the best in the league during their 16-0 season -- a season in which Samuel and Hobbs were the starting corners.

With a more consistent pass rush, the move would absolutely work out. Even if the Eagles don't believe Hobbs is a starter, there are guys like Leigh Bodden, Dunta Robinson, and Dre' Bly hitting the free agent market regardless of the status of the CBA.

Bly might be a bit past him prime, but he could be a good one-year option until the Eagles can go out and find someone else. Bodden and Robinson, however, are certainly above average and, in Robinson's case, have shown to be borderline elite in seasons past.

I've been a fan of this move for a long time and believe that it would solve a lot of problems in the secondary. Quintin Mikell would be more free to do his job and not worry about picking up the slack for the guy next to him, Sheldon would be an All-Pro at safety, and both corners could play with the security of knowing they have two Pro Bowl-caliber safeties behind them.

And if Samuel has faith in the safety behind him to make a play, it could result in a lot more gambles resulting in many more big plays.

It's something that the Eagles should seriously consider heading into 2010 and, if they're smart about it, will at least try during offseason practices, training camp, and the preseason.

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