By Mel Kennedy
Eagles fans are properly skeptical whenever they bring in a high-profile cornerback.
Does Nnamdi Asomugha ring a bell from 2011 when the Birds overpaid for an over-the hill CB?
So, that’s why the arrival of Darius Slay hasn’t been the cause for rejoicing.
But the Eagles haven’t had a cornerback as good as Darius Slay since Asante Samuel.
Not only has Slay been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons, but he is tied for the fourth-best defensive passer rating (71.6) in the NFL over the past three years — behind only Tre’Davious White, and Marlon Humphrey (tied with Stephon Gilmore). The Eagles have an elite cornerback for the first time in a decade.
Lining up opposite of Slay at the No. 2 cornerback spot is Avonte Maddox, who allowed a 52.0 defensive passer rating — ninth in the NFL — in his rookie season before injuries caused a bit of a sophomore slump. Maddox was targeted 75 times and recorded a defensive passer rating of 85.1, but only one touchdown. The Eagles parted ways with Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas because of their added speed at cornerback and this group’s ability to actually play the ball. Nickell Robey-Coleman is one of the best slot cornerbacks in the game while Cre’von LeBlanc has been incredibly productive in the limited snaps he’s had since joining the team in 2018.
While the names don’t appear impressive on paper outside of Slay, this is the Eagles’ best cornerback group in years. Philly will need all these corners to contain Terry McLaurin, Darius Slayton, CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup this season.