Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is taking advantage of the opportunity to capitalize on the versatility of his players. In this training camp alone, the Eagles have used players like Josiah Scott, who was acquired in the offseason as a nickel cornerback, and coached him up at safety.
On Monday, as the Eagles prepare for the first cut to 85 players, the team acquired another player who will bring depth and versatility to Gannon’s defensive back end. Philadelphia received a defensive back, not exclusively a corner or a safety, Ugo Amadi in exchange for tight end J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
A former fourth-round pick out of Oregon in 2019, Amadi brings experience in addition to versatility. In his first three seasons in the NFL, the 5-foot-9, 201-pound Amadi has appeared in 47 regular-season games while starting 12 contests (seven last season alone). Even when not contributing on defense, Amadi has played 580 special teams in his career. In 2021, the Seahawks used Amadi as a nickel corner, box player and deep safety that made him an attractive option for the Eagles, who keep detailed notes on players around the league if the opportunity to acquire them.
A Stanford product, Arcega-Whiteside returns to the West Coast for a chance to make the Seahawks’ roster after moving from wide receiver to tight end this offseason. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, the tight end position is stocked with young, developing talent, led by Dallas Goedert, leaving Arcega-Whiteside to take over the sled. In addition to Goedert, the Eagles have Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, Noah Togiai and Tyree Jackson coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list any day now. Of course, there is trusted veteran Richard Rodgers in the room.
The defensive backfield now features the top three at corner with Big Play Slay and James Bradberry on the outside, and Avonte Maddox in the slot. At safety, Marcus Epps has had an excellent training camp and Anthony Harris provides a consistent presence and leadership, while veteran Jaquiski Tartt returned to training camp after missing time due to a personal matter. Amadi joins a number of young and hungry defenders looking to prove their worth in the coming weeks.
The Eagles improved their depth on defense and special teams on Monday, while giving a highly regarded player a chance to do so elsewhere. With the Eagles set to reach the 85-man limit by 4 p.m. Tuesday, they took a step to make sure they’re even stronger throughout the roster before embarking on a set of joint practices and the second preseason game in Cleveland.