Undrafted rookie Bruce Hector came in handy last season, when the Eagles were scrambling to fill out their defensive tackle rotation in the wake of Tim Jernigan’s neck injury and the loss of Beau Allen to Tampa Bay in free agency. Hector appeared in eight games, splitting time between the roster and the practice squad.
But this year, the competition has been stronger — including Jernigan, who has had an outstanding training camp — and Hector stood little chance of surviving the cutdown to 53 that will take place a week from Saturday.
So general manager Howie Roseman dispatched Hector to Arizona on Thursday in exchange for safety Rudy Ford, before the Eagles played host to the Baltimore Ravens in a preseason game.
The Eagles are less comfortable with their depth at safety than at defensive tackle, but the acquisition of Ford probably has a lot to do with special teams. The Eagles had hoped safety Blake Countess would be a strong special-teams contributor, as he had been for the Rams the last three seasons. Last week, the Eagles waived Countess with an injury settlement.
Ford appeared in 23 games over the last two seasons, after the Cards drafted him in the sixth round out of Auburn. He is considered a very good special-teams gunner.
A bunch of starters played Thursday for the Eagles, but the most notable might have been safety Rodney McLeod, seeing his first action since he suffered a knee injury in Week 3 last season.
McLeod made a strong early stop on Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley, as the quarterback tried to turn the corner on second-and-10. Defensive starters played the first quarter, which ended with Baltimore leading, 3-0.