Eagles: Which CB should start opposite of Darius Slay?

After a handful of moves, the Eagles secondary is finally starting to come into shape.

Along with the blockbuster trade to bring in Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay, Howie also went out and acquired nickel corner Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety Will Parks.

As of right now, the depth chart in the secondary looks something like this:

CBDarius SlayRasul Douglas
SRodney McLeodWill Parks/Rudy Ford
SJalen MillsWill Parks/Marcus Epps
CBAvonte MaddoxSidney Jones
Slot CBNickell Robey-ColemanCre’Von LeBlanc

Most of those spots seem pretty solidified for the moment, it’ll obviously change after the draft and throughout the offseason. But the one spot that still feels like it’s up for grabs is the outside corner position opposite of Slay.

According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn, it’s Avonte Maddox‘s starting spot to lose heading into camp. On a recent episode of Quick Slants, Gunn said the following:

“I was also told that the job starting opposite of Darius Slay is Avonte Maddox’s to win or lose.”

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Maddox finished last season as the starter on the outside, and now that Jalen Mills has been moved to safety, Maddox is the next man up to start opposite of Slay.

Maddox spent most of his college career as an outside corner as well, so he doesn’t lack experience at the position. But since he’s entered the NFL, the Eagles have had him play all over the defensive backfield. in 2018, Maddox played 295 snaps on the outside and 109 in the slot. Last year, Maddox played predominantly in the slot, playing 400 snaps there, as opposed to 136 on the outside.

While Maddox has had some success as an outside corner in the NFL, he’s been much more impressive in the slot and at safety. And if it wasn’t for injuries last season, he would have likely played even more snaps in the slot.

He’s built more like a slot corner as well, standing at 5-foot-8 and weighing in at 184 pounds. Ideally, Sidney Jones finally puts it all together and solidifies his spot as the outside starter. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones recorded the highest coverage grade of the Eagles corners who played the majority of their snaps on the outside.

I like Maddox, I’d just like to see him play more at the slot and third safety position rather than on the outside. But with the addition of Nickell Robey-Coleman, the Los Angeles Rams nickel corner for the past three seasons, and Will Parks, who spent 55% of his defensive snaps as the Denver Broncos slot corner in 2019, there may not be enough room for Maddox at the nickel.

Regardless of how the depth chart stacks up right now, Roseman has given defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz a solid group of corners to mix and match with. There’s no reason Schwartz can’t put together an adequate starting group in the secondary with this crop.

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