Part 4 of 10
No. 7 Asante Samuel
After a lackluster 2007 season that was marked by an uncharacteristically poor defensive unit under the direction of Jim Johnson, the Eagles acted quickly to lock up All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel when he became a free agent. A major factor in signing Samuel was to increase the number of takeaways that had disappeared despite their attacking defensive style.
In his two seasons in Philadelphia, including the postseason, Samuel has intercepted 15 passes and returned two for touchdowns. During that period, the Eagles have returned to the top of league rankings in both takeaways and total defense.
Eagles fans often are frustrated by the smallish cornerback's lack of run support and soft tackling, but Samuel has clearly made a difference with his coverage ability and great anticipation. He has been selected to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl both seasons in an Eagles uniform.