Is Jaquiski Tartt Good? How do the Eagles Plan to Use Him?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles signed veteran free agent safety Jaquiski Tartt on Friday. Snuck that one in there before the holiday weekend.

Prediction –

Fans butcher his name. It’s gonna be terrible. We’re talking Alshon “Jefferies” and Nelson “Aguilar” levels of butchering here.

But the more important question is whether or not Tartt can still play. Short answer: he can. Superstars don’t remain on the free agent market until mid-June, but Tartt played on some quality San Francisco defenses under Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans and is a 6’1″, 215 pound guy with a reputation for having good instincts and being a quality tackler. He’s a good effort player, as you can tell on sequences like this one:

Tartt started 14 regular season games and three postseason games in 2021. The Eagles really need a ground-covering safety to replace Rodney McLeod, because he’s been your deep-middle guy for a long time now. Maybe the Eagles think Marcus Epps can fill the role, but it’s one thing to drop two of Anthony Harris/Epps/Tartt into a soft Cover 2, and another thing entirely to leave one of Harris/Epps in a single-high look. We’ll find out soon.

We think Jonathan Gannon is going to run a 3-4 this season, and if he’s deploying nickel you’re looking at a unit that resembles something like this:

  • DT: Javon Hargrave
  • NT: Jordan Davis
  • DT: Fletcher Cox
  • EDGE/OLB: Haason Reddick
  • LB: Nakobe Dean/Kyzir White/T.J. Edwards
  • EDGE/OLB: Josh Sweat/Brandon Graham
  • CB1: Darius Slay
  • CB2: James Bradberry
  • Slot corner: Avonte Maddox
  • S: Harris/Epps
  • S: Tartt

Something like that… we think. Maybe like a 3-3-5 stack-looking thing, or you go four-man front with one of your edge guys (Reddick comes down to the line, etc). Swap a LB for a slot corner. Hard to say right now, but I love that personnel group. Howie Roseman really did get around to addressing everything, even if there are some short-term plugs in there. We know the Eagles like Epps and think highly of him, so he’ll get plenty of snaps this year and might even be a 1A/1B guy depending on how they choose to deploy Tartt. You’re also looking at dime packages where you’ve got a four-man front, one linebacker, and and six DBs on the field, which allows you to go with Slay/Bradberry/Maddox/Epps/Tartt/Harris at the same time, if you really wanted to. Those three-safety looks can be versatile in obvious passing situations.

More of the issue for Tartt has been staying healthy. He played seven games in 2020, eight in 2018, and nine in 2017. He’s had a broken forearm, shoulder injury, and then a toe problem two seasons ago. He’s only 30 though, and McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins both played here past their twenties.

Tartt isn’t a takeaway kind of guy. He’s only got four career interceptions and two forced fumbles, so when it comes to dynamic playmaking, that’s not really his game. You’re also not lining him up in the slot against a speedy receiver and asking him to do wonders in coverage. Tartt is a good downhill player, maybe somewhere between a box guy and free safety. A smart veteran who will compete for a starting gig here:

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