Eagles taking a risk with Byron Maxwell
If the Philadelphia Eagles do indeed end up having big-money free-agent cornerback Byron Maxwell frequently shadow opponents’ top receivers, as Zach Berman tweeted on Thursday, it will certainly put to test Maxwell’s status as a No. 1 corner.
Since entering the starting lineup for the Seahawks in Week 13 of 2013, Maxwell has almost no experience at any position other than right CB. In 2014, Maxwell lined up at RCB 612 times compared to just four times at LCB. In 2013, it was much of the same, as his splits were 603 at RCB and 6 at LCB.
Even though he was rewarded with a hefty contract this offseason, 2014 was not a good season for Maxwell. His lone INT did come on a pass from Aaron Rodgers when covering Jordy Nelson, but it was one of the few high points of his season. Good games against San Diego and Philadelphia were overshadowed by subpar play the rest of the year. Allowing 1.38 yards per cover snap, Maxwell ranked 50th of 72 eligible CBs.
Simply put, our 2014 numbers indicated he didn’t warrant status as a top-level NFL corner.
However, he did show a lot of potential in 2013, pairing with Richard Sherman to be the top two CBs in terms of NFL QB rating allowed. On a per-snap basis, Maxwell was tough to beat — he graded as our No. 13 CB despite playing just 694 snaps.
It’s entirely possible a change of scenery, a new team and a new role will rejuvenate the former Seahawk to his 2013 form. But his struggles in 2014 are cause for concern, especially if Maxwell has to cover the likes of Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson in three of the Eagles’ first four games.