Is this the best group of Philadelphia Eagles cornerbacks that we’ve seen in the Doug Pederson era?
Philly’s cornerback position is where things get very interesting. Ronald Darby has moved on to a rival, the Washington Football Team, meaning the starting cornerbacks on the outside are slated to be new acquisition Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions and, more than likely, Avonte Maddox. Another new acquisition, Nickell Robey-Coleman, figures to man the slot cornerback position.
Maddox has had some experience playing in the slot and at safety as well. He’s a prime example of what defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz refers to as a new-look secondary for the Eagles. Perhaps, that means Cre’von LeBlanc is the backup slot corner. He’s a nice open-field tackler.
We haven’t even mentioned Sidney Jones yet. He’s someone fans have been waiting on to break out. He showed some flashes in 2019 (finally), but was that a result of playing subpar competition down the stretch? If he breaks out, this unit gets even stronger. If not, this is still a deep and versatile unit, with Jones being another cog in the wheel.
Rasul Douglas was at the center of some offseason trade talk, but as of now, he’s still on the roster. To some, he’s been one of the more frustrating ‘Birds’, but he’s also hauled in five career interceptions over the course of his first three NFL seasons while playing mostly in a reserve role.
There are also a couple of longshots with a chance to make the team, namely undrafted free agents Elijah Riley and Grayland Arnold. Craig James, one of the heroes of the Eagles win over the Green Bay Packers in 2019, is also in the mix. He isn’t exactly a shoo-in to make the team by any means, but he’s another example of how deep this preseason roster is at the beginning of 2020.
Philly’s hybrid secondary could be a key piece in a successful 2020 campaign. The pieces are interchangeable, like what we’ve seen from Malcolm Jenkins and Jalen Mills already and like what we’ve seen from the defensive line rotation. With the passing game exploding more and more in today’s NFL, this deep and versatile secondary should have their chances to prove that they’re evolving into one of the NFL’s elite secondaries.