Jim Schwartz has Eagles cutting (and signing) corners

PHILADELPHIA -- As the Philadelphia Eagles pivot from free agency to focusing on the NFL draft, let's continue our position-by-position assessment of the roster.

Today, we look at the cornerbacks.

Likely starters: Eric Rowe, Nolan Carroll.

Key moves: The Eagles removed Byron Maxwell's massive contract from their books, trading the cornerback to the Miami Dolphins. The also let E.J. Biggers walk. The free agent signed with the New England Patriots.

Meanwhile, the Eagles signed a couple of former Buffalo Bills cornerbacks -- Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks. McKelvin signed a two-year deal worth $6.2 million while Brooks signed for three years, $5.55 million.

Jim Schwartz's impact: The new defensive coordinator's emphasis on pressuring quarterbacks should make the cornerbacks' jobs easier while giving them more chances to intercept passes. In Buffalo, McKelvin intercepted a career-high four passes in just 10 games in 2014, Schwartz's lone season with the Bills.

The cornerbacks who were here in 2015 get the benefit of working with secondary coach Cory Undlin for another year. So their techniques should be similar, but the scheme around them will be very different.

By parting with Maxwell and Biggers and adding McKelvin and Brooks, the Eagles gave Schwartz a group of corners more to his liking.

Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said earlier this month that Schwartz told him the team could never have too many cornerbacks. That seems to be guiding the team through this offseason.

In the pipeline: The Eagles drafted two cornerbacks last year and added another who made the team as an undrafted free agent. Those three -- JaCorey Shepherd, Randall Evans and undrafted Denzel Rice -- should all get a chance to compete in training camp.

Rice and Evans got some experience last season. Shepherd, who tore his ACL in training camp and missed the season, may be the most promising prospect of the three.

The team also signed Aaron Grymes, who intercepted eight passes in three seasons with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos.

Jaylen Watkins, a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, is also on the roster. He could also move to safety if needed.

Draft outlook: You can never rule out draft a cornerback or two. The Eagles are showing a lot of interest in quarterbacks, which has fueled speculation about their first-round pick. But there are a couple of elite cornerbacks who could be available with the eighth pick in the draft.

If the Eagles select Florida's Vernon Hargreaves or Florida State's Jalen Ramsey, it would not be a surprise (other than the surprise that Ramsey is still available). They seem to like the group of young cornerbacks they have assembled, but there's always room for an elite player at the top of the depth chart.