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Why experts say Eagles’ Anthony Harris is big upgrade over Jalen Mills at safety


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Why experts say Eagles’ Anthony Harris is big upgrade over Jalen Mills at safety


Posted Jun 02, 2021
Anthony Harris

The Philadelphia Eagles signed free-agent safety Anthony Harris, pictured here as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, in March.

While the Eagles’ secondary could still use some upgrades, experts believe the front office has already enhanced the safety depth chart this offseason.
During free agency, the Eagles let former seventh-round pick Jalen Mills leave to join the New England Patriots. The Eagles subsequently replaced Mills with former Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal.
Harris -- who played last season on the franchise tag -- is coming off a down year, but he had nine interceptions in the two previous seasons. Mills, a converted cornerback, had an up-and-down first year at his new position.
ESPN analyst Mike Clay believes the Eagles’ swap of Mills for Harris was one of the biggest positional upgrades of the offseason. In his ranking of the top 25 positional upgrades, Clay had the Mills-to-Harris move as the 18th-best on the list.
Harris "wasn’t quite as dominant last season, as he failed to record a single interception, but he did increase his tackle total from 60 in 2019 to a career-high 104,” Clay said. "Nonetheless, Harris provides an upgrade and solid starter with upside opposite Rodney McLeod in an Eagles secondary that badly needed an injection of talent. The Eagles have ranked 22nd or worse in interceptions each of the past three seasons, with a total of 29 during the span.”
Clay isn’t the only analyst who digs the move. Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson is also fond of Harris, ranking him as the No. 13 safety in the NFL in his latest positional countdown.
"Harris hit free agency coming off a season in which he graded at just 63.6 in coverage, and it meant he could only manage a cheap, one-year contract with Philadelphia,” Monson said. "Before that, Harris generated 10 picks and an overall PFF grade of 90.6 over the previous two seasons combined.”
The Eagles are in desperate need of takeaways this season. Last year, the Eagles ranked at the bottom of the turnover totals, struggling to take the ball away. Backup safety Marcus Epps led the team with just two interceptions.
Last year aside, Harris has shown superb ball skills when allowed to make plays. Swapping out Mills for Harris should help the Eagles create more takeaways.
The Eagles are going to need Harris to step up immediately, as fellow starter, Rodney McLeod, is coming off ACL surgery. If McLeod can’t start the season on the field, Harris will be teamed with Epps, K’Von Wallace, or free-agent addition, Andrew Adams.


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"...Was one of the biggest positional upgrades this off-seaso", ranked 18 out of 25.

I don't know about you but 7 from the bottom and 17 from the top doesn't seem like one of the biggest, it's not even top half in those rankings, talk about hyperbole 👎

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