When it comes to playing safety in Philadelphia, there is no better opinion out there on what it takes to succeed at the position than that of Brian Dawkins.
Dawkins was a guest of Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, Friday and gave his insight on whether or not the Eagles should pursue safety Jairus Byrd in free-agency and make him a top target as legal tampering is set to begin Saturday.
"The thing about Jairus Byrd that you first thing about when you watch him on film is 'this cat has a nose for the football,'" Dawkins explained. That's something you really want out of a safety. Where he got a lot better as his career is still young, but where he's gotten better is tackling.
"That's something he wasn't good at at one point, being a sure tackler, he's even better in that regard."
Byrd finished last season with 48 tackles and four interceptions in 11 games with the Buffalo Bills in 2013.
Already widely regarded as a top safety in the game, Dawkins says that Byrd is very motivated to improve, even from here.
"He really wants to understand the game better," Dawkins said after speaking with the 27-year old earlier this week. "I sat down iwth him for about 30-45 minutes the other day during his obligations for ESPN he was really picking my brain about things it will take to get better. How be a better tackler and he was taking notes every step of the way."
Byrd is seeking $9 million per-year as free agency approaches and while that is a hefty price for any team to pay, for the Eagles, it may just be worth it.
"That's the thing you have to make a decision on how you want to play that position. The one thing about being in Philadelphia is I wanted to make sure I jumped to become the highest paid safety so that the position could continue to grow as the salaries at the positions go. A lot of people still don't have respect for the position.
"He's a young man who will bring a lot to your football team. He's a leader. He's a vocal guy. When he makes the big plays is he's teaching other guys how he goes about making the plays. It becomes a competition. When you have a guy making plays at safety, you want to do even better on the other side"
The Eagles will enter free agency with a glaring hole at safety and approximately $26 million in cap space to spend.
Given Byrd's ties to the University of Oregon and his excitement over Chip Kelly's rapid NFL success, this could wind up being a match made in free-agent heaven.