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As the NFL trade deadline inches closer, Howie Roseman and his Eagles will be hard at work identify potential moves. They’ve already signed legendary wideout Julio Jones this past week, but there’s certainly more room for improvement across the board – especially in the defensive secondary.
Pro Football Focus recently dropped a piece outlining 10 trades that teams across the league should make ahead of the trade deadline. For the Eagles, PFF is eyeing Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard, a name that’s been floated around Eagles Twitter since the offseason.
It’s hard to argue that there’s a bigger need on this team than the safety position. Reed Blankenship has been solid in his first full year as a starter, but he’s dealt with numerous injuries already and we’re only six weeks into the season. The other safety spot has been a revolving door, with Justin Evans, Terrell Edmunds, and Sydney Brown all getting significant playing time there.
None of them have been particularly good. Both Evans and Edmunds rank outside the top-40 at their position in PFF grading. Brown has been the best of the bunch, but he’s only seen 16 defensive snaps thus far.
Trading for Byard almost makes too much sense from the Eagles’ perspective. He’s cheaper than the other safeties on the trade block (Budda Baker and Justin Simmons) by a pretty wide margin; Byard is only making $4 million this season. Plus, while he doesn’t hold the same level of name recognition, you could argue Byard is the best safety on the block.
“Byard was PFF’s highest-graded safety in 2021 with a 90.4 mark and followed that up in 2022 with an 81.0 coverage grade, picking off nine passes over the past two seasons with eight more pass breakups,” PFF writes. “As a tackler, Byard has earned tackling grades above 80.0 with missed tackle rates below 7% in six straight seasons. He’s as reliable on the back end as any player in football.”
Sean Desai’s pass defense has been lackluster through six weeks this year, ranking 20th in passing yards per game (232.2). If the Eagles want to make another push towards the Super Bowl, their pass defense needs to be shored up and fast. Byard could be their solution.
Mandatory Credit: NFL.com