In the 4th-round of the 2018 draft, the Eagles took a flyer on a small defensive back from Pittsburgh in Avonte Maddox. The Eagles kept him at cornerback through Training Camp, and with a cluster of players ahead of him on the depth chart, Maddox was slated to mostly be a special teams contributor for the 2018 season.
What the Eagles didn't expect was Rodney McLeod to suffer a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the season, which pressed the Eagles into getting Maddox some snaps at safety at practices. Injuries combined with poor play from the backup safety Corey Graham allowed Maddox to be pushed into a prominent safety role for a few games. Then the Eagles became decimated with injuries to their cornerbacks, as Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills suffered season-ending injuries while Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas dealt with a few lingering injuries that cost them a few games. That mess pushed Maddox back to becoming a full-time cornerback for the remainder of the season.
Maddox thrived in every role he was forced into in 2018, totaling 35 tackles while defending four passes, intercepting two passes and forcing one fumble. Now with all six cornerbacks on this year's roster poised to be healthy entering the 2019 opener, it begs the question of who will be the starting corners for the Eagles and who will come off the bench in limited roles? Darby and Mills are favorites to win the starting outside corner spots, but Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Seth Joyner says that Maddox will surpass everyone else in the near future and secure a major this season and for the future.
Joyner was around plenty of great corners in his time with the Eagles (Eric Allen, Roynell Young, Mark McMillian), and if he sees Maddox as the most technically and fundamentally sound corner on the roster, then we should hold his opinion with some respect.
Size is something that Maddox lacks, but like Joyner said - his skill set and technique will take him far, and potentially into a starting role for the 2019 Eagles and beyond.