Day two of the NFL Draft has come to an end for the Philadelphia Eagles, (barring any trade ups) with the team taking West Virginia CB Rasul Douglas with the 99th overall pick. Here’s what you need to know:
One of the most overlooked corners coming into the Draft, Douglas has great length at 6’2, and size at 209 lbs. The Eagles don’t just crave a long cornerback..but a playmaker. In his senior year, Douglas intercepted 8 passes and broke up 8 more. Douglas contributed heavily to a Mountaineers defense that dominated the Big-12, and has all the makings of a strong press corner.
Douglas is a true dinner corner..and one with rare length. In 2015 he amassed 8 tackles and one pick in 11 games, before his eye popping senior year that along with the aforementioned 8 picks, saw him rack up 70 tackles.
The problem is that with a 4.59 40-yard dash time, there are concerns he doesn’t have the gas to keep up with some of the faster NFL wideouts. When playing in zone coverage, he’s able to read the eyes of the opposing quarterback incredibly well and come down to make a play on the ball. He shows no fear in jumping routes or leaping up to catch a 50-50 ball, but if he’s not in position, exploited on a complex route, or beaten at the line..the recovery can act as an achilles heel.
Contrarily, the size of Douglas means he could play at Safety with a moments notice. Long-term depth behind McLeod and Jenkins is anything but stable and versatility is a quality that the Eagles love on Defense.
There’s no doubting that Douglas has playmaker potential and he was previously projected to go between rounds 3-5. He may be the perfect project cornerback to learn under Patrick Robinson in 2017..who in my opinion is the most technically sound corner on the roster.
So, what does the decision to double-dip on corners mean for Douglas?
Jumping the gun:
Within the space of 20 minutes, the cornerback dominos began to fall at an alarming rate. Cordrea Tankersley, Cameron Sutton, and Jourdan Lewis were just three of the names taken in the latter stages of the third round. The Eagles needed to ensure that they had some depth at cornerback, especially given the uncertainty on whether or not Sidney Jones will play in 2017.
Douglas may not be as technically refined as Jones, nor as flashy as some of the other cornerback prospects, but as noted above, he’s a true playmaker..and someone that could come in right away and compete for a starting role. The upside is certainly there..and by ensuring that the team land a mid-round corner in the bottom of the third round, the Eagles have added some short-term stability in the secondary.
The Eagles still have several boxes left on their to-do list. From running back and linebacker, to some more help along the trenches on both sides and maybe some more cornerback depth, day three will certainly be exciting. But what the Eagles have done well, is put themselves in a position where their most prominent hole has seen an upgrade so that they can re-adapt that strategy moving in to day three.
There are still plenty of powerful running backs and even some eccentric receivers left on the board as the teams call it a night for day two of the NFL Draft..and the Eagles can now look to squeeze every last drop of potential out of those remaining picks, safe in the knowledge that they have a long corner who has the ball skills to come in and start while Jones recovers.
The Eagles craved a long cornerback. One who could make big plays and wasn’t afraid of contact. Douglas ticks all of those boxes and more. With Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills seemingly the front-runners when it comes to starting roles, Douglas brings the tenacious skill set that Schwartz covets in a defensive backs and could well be set to throw the cat amongst the pigeons when training camp rolls around..speaking of which…
If there’s one thing that Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz embody, it’s competition. From day one, to the very last snap of the season, the coaches like to ensure that every player is giving 100% in every possible opportunity. Training camp proved to be the ultimate proving ground for the Birds’ last year..and it’s likely to bring just as much intensity to the secondary this time around.
With Jones likely being limited, it will be down to Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ron Brooks, Aaron Grymes, Mitchell White and C.J Smith, to battle it out..while Douglas will aim to dethrone whatever role he can to force himself into a key role moving forward. Needless to say, it’s going to be extremely exciting to watch.
We will have much more on the addition of Rusal Douglas to the secondary tomorrow, along with a full recap of today’s action including quotes from Sidney Jones, Howie Roseman, and Joe Douglas..so stay locked in!
Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports