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Most important Eagles for 2020: The man who could change the Eagles’ secondary


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Most important Eagles for 2020: The man who could change the Eagles’ secondary


Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season. 


20. Nate Sudfeld 
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert  
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor 
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders  
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz 
6. DeSean Jackson 
5. Lane Johnson
4. Darius Slay

In the four years under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, there have been 17 different corners to get on the field for the Eagles. They’ve gotten by with Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and Dexter McDougle and a complete list of average to bad corners. 

The Eagles haven’t had an elite cornerback since Asante Samuel nearly a decade ago. 

They hope that’s about to change. 

This offseason, the Eagles shipped 3rd and 5th-round picks to the Lions for Darius Slay in March and then gave the 29-year-old a three-year extension with over $30 million guaranteed. The Eagles had no problem with that price because they believe they’re getting one of the best cornerbacks in the league. 

Slay has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last three seasons in Detroit. During those three seasons, he has 13 interceptions. During that same span every Eagles cornerback combined had  a total of 23.

During Schwartz’s time as DC in Philly he hasn’t used one corner to travel with top receivers, but that’s because he didn’t have a corner worthy of that responsibility. He does now. 

And Slay is ready for that. 

"Oh, I love the challenge,” Slay said this offseason. "I kind of ask for it a lot because of the fact that I want the game on me and I want to help win the game. If the best route to go about it is me traveling with a guy, then I’ll do it.”

Even though many considered Slay’s 2019 season to be a down years, according to ProFootballFocus, here’s how he performed against some of the NFL’s top receivers last season: 

Larry Fitzgerald: 1 target, 0 catches 
Keenan Allen: 11 targets, 6 catches, 81 yards, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Stefon Diggs (2 games): 8 target, 6 catch, 114 yards, 1 PBU
Adam Thielen: 2 targets, 1 catch, 25 yards, 1 TD
Allen Robinson (2 games): 9 targets, 5 catch, 74 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT 
Amari Cooper: 6 targets, 3 catches, 38 yards, 2 PBU 
Terry McLaurin: 10 targets, 3 catches, 42 yards, 1 PBU 
Chris Godwin: 2 targets, 1 catch, 6 yards
Davante Adams: 5 targets, 4 catches, 63 yards

That last note is particularly important for the Eagles, who will have to try to slow down Cooper for at least the next several years. 

Under Schwartz, the Eagles have been incredible against the run. In fact, they’re the NFL’s No. 1 run defense since 2016. But they’re 23rd against the pass. Having a stud cornerback like Slay could change all that. 

And if they have better corners, the pass rush will have more time to get to the quarterback. That could mean big things for the entire defense.


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So this year he gets: 

Washington  - Terry McLaurin who lit us up last year (twice).

Rams - Robert Wood, he's faster than Cooper Kupp and more dangerous as well

Bengals - Is AJ Green still a threat, if not then Tee Higgens

49ers - Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk, take your pick

Steelers - Juju Smith-Schuster

Ravens - Marquise Brown

Giants - Sterling Sheppard (twice)

Cowboys - Amari Cooper who owned our secondary (twice)

Browns - Can't wait to see the battle with Odell Beckham

Seahawks - we owe DK  Metcalf

Packers - Devante Adams

Saints - Michael Thomas and that match up will be a treat to watch

Cardinals - DeAndre Hopkins, another great on-field battle, He had Fitz last year but a bigger challenge this year. 


Looking for repeat performances against McLaurin and Cooper in the NFC East. Beckham, Hopkins, and Thomas will be great matchups. 

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The man who will change the Eagles secondary is the new DC that will be hired in 2021 and put in a different scheme that doesn't put the DBs and LBs in a no win situation all game. 

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