Are Eagles on Path To Drafting Top Cornerback With 2024 First-Round Pick?

Despite not selecting a cornerback in the first round over the last two decades, are the Eagles teasing that their streak is coming to an end?

When Lito Sheppard was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002, he was meant to be part of a retool in the secondary that saw the likes of Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, and Blaine Bishop on their way out in just two seasons.

Since then, Philadelphia hasn’t drafted a cornerback in the first round, instead opting to address the position in the later rounds, in free agency, or in the trade market.

As the 2024 NFL Draft creeps closer, it appears the Eagles are potentially teasing an end to their near-two-decades-long process of ignoring the secondary in the first round.

Eagles’ Top-30 Visits Tease Round 1 Cornerback Interest

A full list of the players who visited Philadelphia over the last few months can be found by Pro Football Network’s own Anthony DiBona. Here’s a basic list of some of the top names:

Of all the players on the list, McKinstry, DeJean, and Arnold are considered potential first-round picks at this time. With the 22nd overall pick, the Eagles could be in striking distance to not only take one of the top names but also potentially trade up in the draft for the top player.

On the other side, with seven of the 30 visits recorded being for defensive backs, eight offensive linemen have met with the organization as well. It could very well be a case where if the Eagles are unable to make a move for one of the top cornerback names, they could decide to stand pat and select an offensive lineman with their draft selection.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

Few positions have the type of talent that this cornerback class has, though. Arnold and McKinstry could be plug-and-play starters on Day 1 of the new season. Carson and Phillips could also help in the slot.

DeJean, on the other hand, is an interesting player. While he is a cornerback by trade, he has taken reps all over the field. If newly hired defensive coordinator Vic Fangio believes he can use DeJean like the Baltimore Ravens use All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton, the Eagles could be enticed to select the Iowa star as well.

At the very least, all the secondary visits could be a tease by the Eagles to show the fans they are ready and able to take one of the top defensive backs in the draft.

Will Eagles Take Cornerback in First Round?

There’s a common theme for the Eagles to draft players they have previously met with, as the organization has taken six prospects in the last two years that they flew out to Philly for a pre-Draft visit. Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, and Nolan Smith all had top-30 visits with the organization and were each selected by the team in the first round.

It’s not an accident that the Eagles have met with almost all of the top cornerback prospects in the 2024 class. Both Darius Slay and James Bradberry could be on their way out following the upcoming season, and they also have needs in the slot and at safety. Players who can be versatile enough in Fangio’s scheme would be important pieces for the future of the franchise.

KEEP READING: Top CBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

It may be DeJean, it may be Arnold, but at the very least, there are clear signs that the Eagles may be prepared to end a long streak of ignoring the secondary early on draft day.

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