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Ever since the Dream Team debacle in the early 2010’s, the Philadelphia Eagles have had some of the worst cornerback play in the entire NFL.
With the acquisition of James Bradberry, Howie Roseman has finally given his team two legitimate outside corners for the first time in over a decade. Bradberry made a Pro Bowl in 2020, Darius Slay is fresh off his fourth Pro Bowl outing.
The last time the Eagles had two Pro Bowl corners on their roster? You’d have to go back all the way to 2008, when the front office had just signed Asante Samuel to pair with an aging Lito Sheppard. Following the monstrosity that was Nnamdi Asomugha, here are some of the cornerback tandems the Eagles trotted onto the field:
- Cary Williams/Bradley Fletcher: 2013-’14
- Byron Maxwell/Nolan Carroll: 2015
- Nolan Carroll/Leodis McKelvin/Jalen Mills: 2016
- Ronald Darby/Jalen Mills/Rasul Douglas/Sidney Jones: 2017-’18
There were a handful of corners who played sparingly, but we all know their names because of how abysmal their play was. Guys like Michael Jacquet, Craig James, Nickell Robey-Coleman, the list goes on and on.
Even when the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017, the unquestioned weakness of the team was their cornerback corps. They let Tom Brady throw for a Super Bowl record 505 yards against them.
Not only is this cornerback duo of Slay and Bradberry the best we’ve seen in Philly in awhile, they’re one of the best duos in the league currently. Since 2016, Slay and Bradberry are the only two corners in the league to have at least 15 interceptions and 80 or more pass breakups.
Both of these guys are CB1’s. Slay will remain in that role, and Bradberry should be able to thrive in his newfound home as the CB2.
Playing in a cornerback friendly system like Jonathan Gannon’s that puts a heavy emphasis on zone coverage, Bradberry should bounce back into his Pro Bowl form in 2022. He played in a lot of press-man last year with the Giants, something he’s always struggled with. As a primarily zone corner in 2020, Bradberry was Pro Football Focus’ seventh-highest graded corner in the league. Getting back to that type of system should do wonders for Bradberry.
For the first time in a long time, we as Eagles fans can justify having legitimate excitement for our secondary. For that, we should rejoice.