James Bradbury of the Eagles is fitting in well early in camp as the veteran CB looks for a bounce-back season.

PHILADELPHIA — The search for the No. 2 cornerback has been a chore for the Philadelphia Eagles in recent years, usually a position of weakness even when the franchise’s defense is strong. Signing James Bradbury was vital to the organization, bringing in a Pro Bowl talent to pair with Darius Slay (arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the game).

The Eagles want an elite defense, so they brought in personnel this offseason to have a realistic shot at that goal. Bradberry came to the NovaCare Complex with high regard, and the former Pro Bowler didn’t disappoint through three camp practices.

“You hear a lot about James out there and when you get him. James is a very intelligent football player,” Eagles defensive passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Denard Wilson said. “He’s a quick processor. He’s the other guy who wants to be the best. Those guys like to push.

“He goes out there and fights his butt. The sky’s the limit for him, as long as he gets all the little things right and everything comes together.”

Bradbury had a weekly practice, showing the ability to be a shutdown corner similar to his days with the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants (prior to 2021). Eagles cornerbacks covered both Devonta Smith and AJ Brown, making sure Jalen Hurts couldn’t easily find his go-to targets. Bradbury’s best play was a pass breakup on a downfield throw to Brown, an encouraging sign against a receiver who is physically imposing at the line of scrimmage.

This is not a coincidence.

“On this defense, he’s talking to our safeties like ‘I’ll be here’ or ‘If I’m here, I brought you here,'” Eagles cornerback Avante Maddux said. No need to talk, because he already understands it. It’s good when you have people who already understand defense. He brings so much.”

Bradbury had a successful two-year stint with the Giants, finishing with a team-high 35 pass breakups – the most in the NFL behind only JC Jackson. He also finished with seven interceptions and allowed just a 66.6 passer rating when opposing quarterbacks targeted him. The Giants released Bradberry as a result of freeing up cap space, justifying the move by Bradberry’s eight touchdown passes and 75.8 passer rating in coverage as the primary defender.

Bradbury quickly found a home in Philadelphia, proving he was still one of the top cornerbacks in the game. He has 82 passes defended in his career and has led his team in tackles in all six of his NFL seasons. Bradberry and Darius Slay are the only cornerbacks with 80 passes defended since Bradberry’s rookie season (2016).

Learning a new defense can be difficult, but Bradbury is ahead of the curve. No wonder he had a strong first week of practice.

“It’s going very smoothly,” Bradberry said. “We’re communicating well there. As long as we communicate and get on the same page, it’s usually pretty smooth.”