While all of Philadelphia continues to drool over the arrival of Darius Slay, there’s another cornerback on the roster who’s arrival shouldn’t be overlooked. Nickell Robey-Coleman was a huge addition for the defense this offseason that was unfortunately buried underneath the Darius Slay and Will Parks signings.
Get to know Nickell Robey-Coleman
Nickell Robey-Coleman adds a unique dimension to this defense. Outside of the fact that he is one of the top 5 slot corners in the NFL, Nickell gives Schwartz another player that can play man on the outside as well. He was rated as the 19th best cornerback in the NFL last season by PFF, receiving a decent grade of 74.5.
Robey-Coleman allowed a passer rating of 80.1 when targeted which ranked 13th in the NFL. He also ranked 6th in the NFL in yards per slot coverage snap. The self-proclaimed “slot god” had one of his best seasons in a secondary that featured Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill.
His impact on the Eagles
Now, Nickell, is a key factor in a defense that’s used to being in the spotlight for negative reasons. With his unique ability to cover receivers in the slot or on the outside in press-man coverage, he could be in for his biggest season yet. Lining up with Ramsey may have done wonders for Nickell last season. So, surely a defense that features: Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, and Will Parks can do the same.
Not to mention this defensive line could help a cornerback that didn’t record an interception last season. Now I know how much interceptions matter in Philly but let’s look at the bigger picture. Nickell only allowed one touchdown last season and only three the year prior. As for the former Eagle, Ronald Darby, he allowed 6 touchdowns alone last season and 3 more the year before. Slot or not, that’s a huge upgrade alone.
Jim Schwartz figures to be in heaven with all of his new artillery. Slay takes away the opposing team’s best receiver and Nickel will be to handle those pesky slot receivers. As long as Schwartz pushes al the right buttons going forward, there’s no way that this defense won’t be top five by the end of the season…providing there are no bumps and bruises along the way.
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