According to Sporting News, Brandon Boykin is expected to open the season ahead of Joselio Hanson as the team’s slot cornerback. Boykin was a steal in the 4th round this past April and could have gone in the 1st or 2nd round if he wasn’t 5-9. His lack of height won’t be nearly as big of a deal in the slot and he has very good pure coverage abilities.
With Boykin playing on the slot, the Eagles could have an improved pass defense this year, despite jettisoning one of the league’s top cornerbacks, Asante Samuel, for financial reasons. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, who struggled mightily on the slot last year, will move outside where he’s a much better fit. The 2009 Pro Bowler will also be motivated in a contract year. Meanwhile, #1 cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will play significantly less zone coverage than he did last year, thanks to schematic changes by defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Zone coverage was a huge part of the reason why the man who was once the league’s top cornerback struggled last year.