Darius Slay ahead of JC Jackson in ESPN’s latest cornerback rankings
For some uneducated reason, many people have concluded that Darius Slay had a subpar first year with the Eagles. It appears that too much has been made of his play last season against top receivers DK Metcalf and Davante Adams — you’d be hard-pressed to find any other corner that didn’t get abused by those guys. Slay was the lone bright spot in an otherwise demoralizing Eagles secondary last season:
Yards allowed by Slay last season:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) May 4, 2021
• Terry McLaurin: 87 yards (2 games)
• Robert Woods: 18 yards
• AJ Green: 55 yards
• Chase Claypool: 45 yards
• Michael Thomas: 46 yards
• DK Melcalf: 179 yards
• Davante Adams: 103 yardspic.twitter.com/4Bcz8JD4KU
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler continued his top 10 series this week and listed Slay as the 9th best cornerback in the NFL, just ahead of New England’s J.C. Jackson and right behind Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns:
Highest ranking: 6 | Lowest ranking: Unranked
Age: 30 | Last year’s ranking: 4
Most teams agree Slay isn’t a top-five guy anymore, but they do expect a bounce-back year after an uneven first season in Philadelphia.
“When he’s high-motor, he’s dangerous,” an NFC coach said. “When something goes wrong or if he’s in a funk, he can be a liability.”
Pro Football Focus moved Slay outside of the top-20 corners for 2021 after producing a 62.9 rating last season. He also failed to crack the top 20 in completion percentage allowed as the nearest defender. But he has plenty of pedigree with 20 interceptions and 110 pass deflections, and he should have at least one more high-level year left.
“Philly didn’t exactly help him last year,” an AFC scout said. “They put him on an island and he probably didn‘t have enough support.”
ESPN gathered opinions from more than 50 league executives, coaches, and players to curate a top-10 list at each position. Slay was ranked #4 in last year’s rankings.
The 30-year-old has also been doing his very best to lure another top corner to Philadelphia so that the coverage weight doesn’t fall solely on his shoulders in 2021. Regardless, new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon looks to implement a scheme that can get the most out of his cornerbacks.
Jim Schwartz hardly maximized Slay’s abilities in a defense where defenders’ backs were turned to the quarterback most of the time. The Eagles were ranked 23rd in takeaways last season and Slay had just one interception on the year. The defense will need to be more productive than that to stop the plethora of receivers throughout the NFC East.
Lowest completion percentage allowed since 2017:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) April 3, 2020
– Stephon Gilmore: 49.2%
– Marlon Humphrey: 49.2%
– Darius Slay: 51.8% pic.twitter.com/Rl4UpaBkUR
Mandatory Credit: USA Today