In 13 years Andy Reid has drafted eight cornerbacks.

Only eight?!?

For a coach who has increasingly stressed the importance of improving his pass defense, Reid's investment at the position in the draft comes as a bit of a shock.

There are obvious reasons for the modest attention. A strong draft in 2002 in which the Eagles expended two of their top three picks at cornerback and found a pair of starters in Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown didn't make selecting cornerbacks en masse a necessity.

And Reid has chosen other avenues to get top-tier cornerbacks, too, signing big-name free agents such as Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha and trading for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the last four years.

But only eight?

Over that same 13-year span, Reid has drafted 15 linebackers, a position he considers of less importance. Of course, that number has more to do with his failure in evaluating the position than anything else.

Reid didn't select a cornerback until his fourth draft when he took Sheppard in the first round. Brown was picked a round later. Since then, the picks have been few and underwhelming – Matt Ware, Dexter Wynn, Jack Ikegwuonu, Macho Harris, Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh.

A few were moved to safety. Marsh and Lindley are still on the roster, although their prospects remain unclear.

At safety, Reid has spent more capital, taking 10 in 13 years. The best of the lot was Michael Lewis. Quintin Demps was a disaster. The jury is still out on Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett.

The Eagles have done pretty well drafting safeties. The franchise can rest its laurels alone on Brian Dawkins. A second-round pick in 1996, Dawkins retired on Monday after 16 seasons, 13 of which were spent with the Eagles.

Wes Hopkins, drafted in 1983, is probably the second-best Eagles safety of the last 30 years to be homegrown.

The Eagles had some hits and some misses at cornerback pre-Reid. Ben Smith (1990) and Roynell Young (1980) were first-round underachievers. Bobby Taylor (1995) and Eric Allen (1988) were second-round overachievers.

Of Reid's eight draft picks, only Sheppard and Brown can be mentioned in the same breath.

Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.