June 12, 2024   5 MIN READ

Camp Star

Second-Year CB Making Strides


Crouched low in his stance, fingers twitching in anticipation of the next snap, wholly fixated on his assignment, Eagles second-year cornerback Kelee Ringo looked the part standing across superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown.

At the snap, Ringo mirrored the movements of Brown, who accelerated off the line. The 21-year-old cornerback, appearing more confident than this time last season, refused to back down, nor panic and abandon technique.

With Ringo nipping at his heels, Brown hit the brakes and pivoted to face quarterback Jalen Hurts, securing the comeback route for minimal gain.

Although the catch was made, the rep offered a glimpse into Ringo’s growth, perhaps even illustrating a role far more prominent than originally forecasted.

It was merely one of a handful of quality reps that afternoon in an Eagles minicamp practice that Ringo had stacked against Brown, whom Ringo credits for helping elevate his game last season, battling against him every day on the scout team.

“Kelee is difficult at times going against,” Brown said. “Because I go against him a lot. He’s definitely growing. You can see a different step with him.

“I’m not going to put too much pressure on him but you definitely see a different step with him. He’s hungry and he’s competing at a high level.”

Kelee Ringo

GETTY IMAGES: Second-year CB Kelee Ringo will bid for a starting spot opposite Darius Slay.

The battle royal of sorts followed a play in which Ringo flawlessly executed the match, carry and deliver principles of defensive coordinator Vic Fnagio’s scheme, which asked that Ringo run stride-for-stride down the left sideline with fleet-footed receiver Parris Campbell.

Ringo was unable to collect an interception on the play despite being well-positioned, settling instead for a breakup.

But the sequence showcased his renewed sense of patience and trust in his technique.

On more than one occasion, Ringo teased his twitch and long speed, providing plaster coverage down the field against veteran receiver John Ross, a prolific speedster and offseason reclamation project.

It was the first of a three-day mandatory minicamp – the first of the Nick Sirianni era – of which Ringo was unveiled as the first-team cornerback during 7-on-7s, joining Darius Slay.

Even for spring practices, the development was a stark contrast compared to the 20-year-old rookie floundering from last season still  acclimating to the NFL.

The preseason disorientation and timidness last spring and summer had manifested through much of the regular season, when Ringo primarily served as a core special teamer.

One year later, Ringo was able to pinpoint the most appreciable difference in his game.

“I would say a little bit more patience,” Ringo admitted. “I’m processing the game. When the ball is hiked, I’m not having to think as much as I used to.

“So, I feel that just slows the game a lot more for me, so you’re able to play faster and think less.”

As a rookie, Ringo appeared in all 17 games (four starts) – accumulating 21 tackles, two passes defended, an interception, fumble recovery and a sack – but it wasn’t until Week 13 game against Dallas that he factored into the defensive equation.

The Georgia product is the most recent example of the success that’s typically the byproduct of preparation and opportunity.

Now, Ringo will have an opportunity to build off that momentum.

“I feel like the best thing that can help you with that is definitely reps,” he said. “So, having a year under my belt has definitely helped me be able to be more calm with my play. And also, just seeing what offenses are doing against me and strategies and things like that.”

But Ringo’s climb toward the apex of the Eagles’ cornerback hierarchy this season promises to be more daunting.

The Eagles not only have added draftees Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean, selected in the first and second rounds, respectively, but also recently reinstated Isaiah Rodgers remains contention for a prominent role.

Rodgers, for his part, has also impressed this spring. Consistency and projection figure to be the determining factors in identifying a starter opposite Slay.

Circling back to Brown’s observations about Ringo, perhaps the top spring climber, the second year corner’s growth is palpable.

To Brown’s other point, Ringo himself agrees there’s a different step to him.

“I feel like the main thing I would say is just having a little bit more experience,” he said. “After you get a year underneath your belt, you kinda know what things look like, you kinda know what to expect.

“And I feel like as a rookie last year, it was kinda like – of course, I’m ready for any challenge and every, single one that comes to me – but me being able to have experience and seeing what it looks like can definitely help you apply better when the time comes.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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