Mama, there goes that man Howie Roseman again! On Tuesday, August 30th, the news broke that the Philadelphia Eagles had traded with the New Orleans Saints to acquire SS Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The strong safety is a former fourth-round draft pick from the 2019 class from the University of Florida. Gardner-Johnson fills a massive void at the safety position that has been a priority of the Eagles throughout the 2022 training camp. Aside from Marcus Epps, the safety position in Philadelphia was a barren wasteland. For a while, it seemed that veteran and extremely average Anthony Harris would assume the starting position alongside Avonte Maddox in the slot. However, prior to the mandatory cuts on Tuesday, the Birds released Harris.
Gardner-Johnson Coming off Career High Season
For the past three seasons “Ceedy Duce” has been nothing short of a defensive weapon for the Saints. During the 2021-2022 NFL season he posted a career-high 3 interceptions, allowed only 2 passing touchdowns, and limited opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 59.2 when targeted. In addition, the safety was only responsible for one pass interference call as the primary defender. With this roster move, the Philadelphia Eagles have filled every missing piece needed to harbor a complete and strong defensive unit. For the past few years, the Eagles have had lackluster secondaries which have killed them in games. I cannot help to think that this defensive unit is looking similar in caliber to the unit that was on the field for the Brids during the 2017-2018 season when the Eagles raised the Lombardi trophy in Minnesota.
A Look Back at Duce’s Career Thus Far
The new Eagle attended college at the University of Florida and was a member of the Gator’s football team for 3 years (2016-2018). As a gator, the defensive back recorded 92 solo tackles, 161 total tackles (15.5 for loss), 4 sacks, 9 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns. The addition of Gardner-Johnson brings yet another former SEC player to the Eagles’ roster, often revered as the top dog for college football conferences. The DB was drafted by the Saints in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft (105th overall) and will now be entering his fourth year in the league. During his tenure in New Orleans Duce is credited with 122 solo tackles, 161 total tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 interceptions. Philadelphia coaches and fans are expecting the high level of play to translate to South Philadelphia.
Already Fits the Mold
The city of Philadelphia has an extremely notorious reputation for being a rough around the edges and hardworking city. Philadelphia fans are demanding of their players but are very loving at the same time. Based on his demeanor, Ceedy Duce will fit in very well as an Eagle. This past May, he took to Twitter to express his disappointment when Philadelphia 76ers star, Joel Embiid, was not selected as the NBA MVP.
When the Eagles announced the signing of Duce this tweet received a large amount of attention from fans around the league. In addition to this, Duce showed flashes of his Philly-type attitude during the 2021-2022 season in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where there are multiple clips of him getting in the face of quarterback, Tom Brady, and essentially mocking him after a poor performance by the Bucs. Brady was seen throwing a Microsoft tablet on the sidelines after a poor offensive sequence for the Bucs. Gardner-Johnson was quick to take to Twitter after the game mocking the future hall of famer.
The safety has the necessary skill set and attitude to thrive in Philadelphia and will look to continue his successful career in midnight green.
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