August 14, 2023   2 MIN READ

Leader Of The Tack(le)

Analytics Report: Birds Rookie Shines In Debut


Eagles rookie safety Sydney Brown, a third-round pick competing to start, shined in his preseason debut Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Stadium.

In fact, the Illinois product managed to make a tackle almost 20% of the time he was on the field, a rate that was tops among all NFL safeties for the first week of the preseason.

This chart shows Brown’s production compared to other NFL players at his position last week:

sydney brown chart

The takeaway?

According to Pro Football Focus, Brown logged tackles against the Ravens, but ESPN and CBS Sports both report his tackle count at nine.

Nine tackles would actually boost his tackle rate, which calculates tackles per snaps played, to almost 22%, also well ahead of Vikings rookie safety Jay Ward’s rate.

Sydney Brown

GETTY IMAGES: Rookie S Sydney Brown acquitted himself well against the Ravens in his NFL debut, leading the defense in tackles.

For perspective, Bears two-time Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson led the NFL last season with a tackle rate of 10.04%.*

Also last year, Eagles safety C.J.  Gardner-Johnson – who signed with the Lions this offseason – produced a tackle rate of 7.68% while teammate Marcus Epps, now with the Raiders, posted a tackle rate of 6.94%.

These stats only consider safeties who played at least 580 snaps, or half the maximum snaps of the position.

While it’s important to realize the small sample size for Brown, and that it’s just preseason, it’s also fair to be optimistic about the rookie, who could be an exciting defensive playmaker, as mentioned on the latest Inside The Birds podcast.

The book on Brown coming out of Illinois was that mainly played the box and lacked man coverage experience along with having outstanding intellect, leadership and a relentless motor.

“Sydney has done well,” Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai said Monday in a pre-practice press conference. “He’s had a good camp, and he’s continuing to grow and learn this defense. 

“He’s doing everything he can to learn and grow with that, and then in terms of their aggressiveness, that’s the art of a coach. Sometimes their great traits can hurt us, but he hasn’t done that.”

– Sam Finkel is a staff writer for who focuses on analytics.

Listen to the latest “Inside The Birds” podcast featuring Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher:

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