Not so fast.
Kurt Coleman, who went from rookie seventh-round pick to starting strong safety at the end of last year, arrived at the NovaCare Complex Tuesday morning and pronounced himself a candidate for a starting job somewhere in the secondary.
Not only a candidate but a favorite.
I think its my spot to go out there and take, Coleman said.
Allen is back and supposedly 100 percent healthy after his encouraging rookie season at free safety ended when he suffered a ruptured right patella tendon during the Eagles-Giants game in December.
Assuming hes healthy, Allen is a lock to be a starter. But the other safety spot is interesting. Andy Reid spoke extremely highly of Jarrett after the Eagles drafted him out of Temple in the second round back in April. He compared Jarrett to the legendary Brian Dawkins, called him a big-time hitter, said he crushes people, and called him the kind of player we need back there.
But that was before the entire off-season went by without the rookies being able to meet with their coaches, study their playbook, watch film with their teammates or participate in workouts and minicamps.
Jarrett is still unsigned but said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex that he hopes to be signed in time to report to Lehigh on Wednesday. Rookie draft picks cant report to training camp if theyre not signed.
How far behind is Jarrett? We wont know until the Eagles get on the practice field later this week. But Coleman has a head start in the form of a full year of NFL experience, and he believes that will give him an edge if hes given a chance to compete for the starting strong safety spot.
Coleman is big hitter and sure tackler, but the Eagles didnt draft Jarrett to sit on the bench.
Safety, its all about being a leader, being in command, having confidence when youre called, Coleman said. I feel very experienced back there. Even though I didnt play the whole season back there, I got enough playing time (during the regular season) and one playoff game, and I feel very comfortable out there.
I got my film from last year, and I studied myself. I know I made strides. Im excited to go out there and prove what I can do.
Coleman started three games last year -- the win at Washington, the loss to the Vikings and the playoff loss to the Packers. He had 20 tackles in those three games, plus an interception of Donovan McNabb in the Eagles 59-28 win over the Skins.
Theres a lot of things I did well, Coleman said. A couple mistakes, but I had Q back there to point me in the right direction. This year, with free agency, Im not sure what direction the Eagles are going to go, but Ime excited. I made my mistakes but I grew from them, and this year Ive got to become that leader regardless of whos back there.