Ronald Darby OUT for the season with a torn ACL: What it means for the Eagles defense

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As if things couldn’t get any worse for the Philadelphia Eagles, Doug Pederson just told reporters that cornerback Ronald Darby is out for the season with a torn ACL. Here’s everything you need to know.

The player:
Ronald Darby hasn’t exactly been lights out this year, but the 24-year old has 43 tackles and a pick to his name. The secondary has been ravaged by injuries and Darby has actually been one of the lone playmakers on the outside, batting some key passes away against the Panthers in the process. Darby was never the strongest tackler, but his awareness around the ball and fearlessness in breaking on top of routes helped turn what could be a touchdown into a field goal on numerous occasions. There is no questioning that the dip in efficiency from Darby to Douglas or whomever steps up is huge.

 

The present:
The Eagles are severely lacking at corner right now. Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones are both injured already and with Chandon Sullivan already being called up to the table alongside Rasul Douglas, the Eagles may need to start digging around or moving pieces in-house for some extra help. The depth at corner could not be thinner right now. Avonte Maddox did play some nickel reps against Dallas, but without their three starting corners for at least one week it seems (until Jones/Mills return), this secondary is on its last legs.

 

The future:
This may have been Darby’s final game in an Eagles jersey. In his contract year, he hasn’t played his best football and in both seasons he’s donned Midnight green, he’s had to miss around half a season due to injury. If it’s stability the Eagles want (and it should be), then re-signing Darby isn’t the smart move. The inverse of this would be that his price would considerably crash after this injury, potentially swinging the momentum ever-so-slightly back in favor of master negotiator Howie Roseman, if he did want to retain the services of the former AP All-rookie member.

The impact:
The Eagles defense faces a New Orleans Saints passing attack that just dropped 51 points on Cincinnati and has scores 30+ points in six games this season. Without a single starting corner remaining on the roster…this could get messy very, very quickly.

 

The replacement:
Sure, he missed some tackles, but Rasul Douglas wasn’t awful on Sunday night. In fact, he made some promising plays and given he’s a former third round pick in just his second season, he now has the biggest opportunity to date. He’s going to be forced to start for the remainder of the year and convince a coaching staff that instead of paying Ronald Darby some (considerably smaller but still) big bucks, they can rely on his young, ballhawking instincts. That challenge starts with the Saints, but if there’s ever an underdog waiting to be unleashed, it’s Douglas.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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