Anytime you can add a former Pro Bowl performer to your team, more times than not it’s a positive sign. Although the #Philadelphia Eagles finished 7-9 a year ago for the second consecutive year, this was an improved football team under first-time NFL head coach Doug Pederson. Once again, general manager Howie Roseman was a busy man this offseason. The headline free-agent additions include wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, as well as running back LeGarrette Blount. But these Birds have also done some work on the other side of the football. And on the eve of Thursday’s Hall of Fame game, they added another piece to their secondary which should pay big dividends.

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Lots of quality pickups

While the Philadelphia Eagles had their shortcomings on offense this past season and slumped after a respectable start, defensive coordinator #Jim Schwartz began to reshape a defensive unit that ranked 30th in the league in total yards allowed per game and dead last in the NFL against the run. The team traded for Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and signed veteran defensive end Chris Long. The latter spent 2016 getting a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots. They also signed cornerback Patrick Robinson and used a first-round pick in April on University of Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett.

But now, add one-time cornerback/turned safety Corey Graham to the mix. Let go by the Buffalo Bills this offseason, he is well versed on Schwartz’s defensive scheme.

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The latter worked together in 2014 in Orchard Park. The 10-year pro with the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Bills has 20 career takeaways and has knocked down 60 passes. He’s a player who can always be found around the football.

What does it all mean?

The NFC East was quite the best this past season. Both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants made their way to the playoffs and the Washington Redskins weren’t far behind. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles were the only team in the division that finished below .500. A better year from quarterback Carson Wentz should help. And so far this summer, he has looked very promising. But defense remains the key to winning a championship. These Birds have added a lot of quality players on this side of the ball the last few month and Graham is the latest example. Teaming him with fellow safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod makes for a fearsome trio. All told, the Eagles could arguably be the most improved team in the NFC this fall.