Can Eagles’ CB Quinyon Mitchell solidify himself as one of the top 10 cornerbacks in franchise history?

Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell poses on the red carpet ahead of the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Before the Eagles traded for Darius Slay for the 2020 season, the recent history of the Philadelphia cornerback situation had not been worth ranking or watching.

Outside of the magical 2017 & 2022 seasons, the secondary had been a mess for two decades. But that may have changed during the 2024 NFL Draft when the Birds selected Quinyon Mitchell in round one and Cooper DeJean in round two. 

The Eagles had not used any of their first-round draft picks to address the position since 2002, and the other resources allocated for the position, before Slay, had only proven to be a Band-Aid on an open wound.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles Cornerback Darius Slay (2) reacts after making an interception in the fourth quarter during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles on September 19, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

As a football fan, I enjoy watching a shutdown corner face a top wideout every week. There is something real and raw from watching two top athletes battle it out Mano-a-Mano. I missed seeing these battles from the Eagles over the years and am excited to watch them again. 

The Top Ten

  1. Eric Allen (7 Seasons) 2nd RD 1988 34 INT * Needs his Gold Jacket*
  2. Troy Vincent (8 Seasons) 1st RD 1992 (Eagles signed in 1996) 28 INT
  3. Herman Edwards (9 Seasons) undrafted 1977 33 INT
  4. Lito Shepperd (6 Seasons) 1st RD 2002 18 INT
  5. Sheldon Brown (7 Seasons) 2nd RD 2002 19 INT
  6. Bobby Taylor (9 Seasons) 2nd RD 1995 19 INT
  7. Asante Samuel (4 Seasons) 4th RD 2003 (Eagles signed in 08) 23 INT
  8. Roynell Young (9 Seasons) 1st RD 1980 23 INT
  9. Darius Slay (4 Seasons) 2nd RD 2013 (traded to Eagles in 20) 9 INT
  10. Mark McMillian (4 Seasons) 10th RD 1992 8 INT

Admittedly, interceptions do not tell the entire tale of a cornerback’s job, but that has always been one of the stats that corners are judged by. In recent years more stats such as passes defended, PBU (pass breakups), QB rating when the ball is thrown at them, and coverage ratings have told a bigger story. For space and time for this article, I have only listed the rounds drafted, seasons played, and interception totals in the rankings. I did not include the new stats, as they were unavailable for players pre-2010. As you can see from the list above, most of the best corners for this franchise are pre-2010.

The rankings show a direct correlation between using first and second-round draft capital and having top cornerbacks on your roster. Five of the top six corners over the past 40 years in Eagle’s history were all drafted in the first 2 rounds, they also played out their first contracts and received a second or third which only enhanced the value of the original draft pick.

The only outliers on the list are Asante Samuel selected in the 4th rd (who would have been much higher on the list had he played more than 4 seasons in Philadelphia) and Herman Edwards who went undrafted.

  • Season & Interception totals calculated while playing for the Eagles*

All eyes are on new Eagles’ CB Quinyon Mitchell

Ravi Punn, right, of Baynes + Baker, adjusts the collar on Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell during a final suit fitting for the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

Outside of Quinyon Mitchell who was just drafted, there is only 1 cornerback the Eagles have selected in round one of the NFL Draft not on the top ten list. 

That dubious distinction belongs to Ben Smith, who was selected in the 1990 NFL Draft. He was also selected with pick 22. Ben’s career started very promising and he was honored by the Pro Football Writers Association as a member of the All-Rookie Team in 1990. His career may have been different had he not been injured during the 1991 season. 

The Eagles and their fans are hoping for better results with pick-22 this time.

Mitchell is a sure tackler and brings receivers down fast and efficiently after the catch. He is also a YAC killer who allowed a paltry 48 yards after the catch during the 2023 season (not including Championship or Bowl games) Per PFF Quinyon allowed an equally low 51.1% pass rating when targeted; 27 receptions on 62 targets.

Quinyon led the Rockets in PBUs in 2023 with 18 and is Toledo University’s all-time leader in pass breakups with 46. After watching the pass defense get shredded last season, this type of productivity will be something that appeals to Eagles fans. 

As always, thank you for reading!

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AP Photo/Carlos Osorio