The Philadelphia Eagles have struggled to maintain consistency and find an identity on either side of the ball, starting the 2021 season at 2-4. This was to be expected after a 4-11-1 campaign last season and clear rebuilding process in the making.
First was the firing of Doug Pederson and the trade of Carson Wentz to the Colts, making second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback. Enter a new head coach in 40-year-old Nick Sirianni to go along with young, new position coaches and it was certain that the entire team from coaching on down would need time to grow and get acclimated to the NFL.
In a continuation of the rebuilding process, long-time tight end Zach Ertz was traded by the Eagles to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for Tay Gowan a cornerback and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.
Ertz was a fan favorite in Philadelphia and despite now with the Cardinals, says Philadelphia is forever “home”. Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowler who is second in franchise history in receptions, behind only Harold Carmichael. Ertz caught two key passes in Super Bowl LII, including one on fourth down late in the game and the game-winning touchdown.
The Eagles hope the addition of Gowan will help a defense that is in the lower half of the league in points allowed at 25.3 points per game. Gowan will join a secondary that includes Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avante Maddox, Rodney McLeod, and Anthony Harris.
Gowan started his college career at Miami University. After redshirting as a freshman and playing sparingly the following season, Gowan transferred to Butler Community College, where he intercepted six passes. After a single season, he transferred Central Florida.
Slated to be a backup during his first season at Central Florida, Gowan was thrown into the fire due to injuries in the secondary. Gowan held his own, and then some, intercepting two passes and knocking down eight others. In addition, he recorded 31 tackles, and allowed only 40 percent receptions on 50 passes thrown in his direction. Although Gowan still had eligibility, he opted out of the 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
An early entry in the 2021 NFL Draft, Gowan was selected in the 6th round by the Arizona Cardinals with the 223rd overall selection. He wasn’t invited to participated in the NFL combine but ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. The 6’ 1”, 186-pound Gowan was inactive for five games and has yet to see action in an NFL game.
The move to acquire Gowan may not seem to be much on surface, but adding depth with a young player with potential is always a plus. The starting cornerbacks on the Eagles are solid, but the depth is thin. The only backups prior to acquiring Gowan were Josiah Scott, brought over in a trade, and 2021 fourth-round draft pick Zech McPhearson.
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