Blake Countess provides 'versatility' to Eagles in 6th round

PHILADELPHIA -- Now we know. It takes Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz five draft rounds to escape from the team holding cell.

In the sixth round of the 2016 draft, the Eagles took their first defensive player. He is Blake Countess, a defensive back from Auburn.

My take: A year ago, Chip Kelly was looking to trade away Brandon Boykin, the Eagles' very effective nickel cornerback, because of his height. Boykin wound up in Pittsburgh.

The height bias is gone with Kelly. On Saturday, the Eagles took the 5-foot-9-3/4-inch Countess with the 196th overall pick in the draft. Howie Roseman, the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations, said the team got a valuable recommendation on Countess from Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

"Coach Muschamp, when you check in with him, he thinks he was not only one of the best players on the defense, he was one of the best players on the team," Roseman said.

Muschamp is now head coach at South Carolina.

Countess played safety in 2015, Roseman said, but he has moved around the secondary.

"He played safety at Auburn (last) year," Roseman said. "He has some traits of (Rodney) McLeod when he plays that. He can play nickel. He can play corner.

"He's someone we think has a lot of value and versatility for our defense."