Cornerback Group

Ever since Jim Schwartz became the defensive coordinator, the Eagles have neglected the cornerback position. The Eagles never relied on their corners during the Schwartz era. Instead, they relied on stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. The faster they got to the quarterback, the less time their defensive backs spent in coverage. A pretty simple philosophy to cover up a weaker spot on your defense.

That can all change this season. The Eagles cornerback room is now a strength of this defense. We haven’t been able to rely on the corners in a long time. Slay is coming off what should have been an All-Pro season. Maddox is heading into his second year as the full-time slot corner and the Birds added James Bradberry IV via free agency.

The Eagles have three legit starting corners. This group has the potential to shut down opposing quarterbacks and wideouts. Last season the Eagles struggled mightily against top quarterbacks. Any decent QB the team faced, they seemed to get picked apart. Yes, part of that was the scheme Gannon played, but there was also a lack of talent. If the Eagles are going to be any better this season, they need the corners to step up against higher-tier quarterbacks.

They now have the personnel to cause problems for opposing quarterbacks, but will they execute on the field? An improved defensive line and linebacker group is also an added benefit for the cornerbacks.

Cornerback One

Darius Slay Jr. is the best player on this Eagles defense. He is a true number one cornerback who follows the opposing team’s top receiver all over the field. Slay also showed he was dangerous with the ball in his hands. He led the league last season with three defensive touchdowns, one interception return, and two fumble recoveries returned for a touchdown.

This cornerback group will be at its best with Slay following the best receiver around the field. This will not only play to his strength but Bradberry’s as well. Look for Slay to have another big year and show why he is one of the top corners in the National Football League.

The Slot Corner

Avonte Maddox is a force in the slot. There is no reason he should not continue to grow and flourish in that area of the field. It is his natural position, which you could see in his first season in the slot. Pro Football Focus had Maddox as a top 10 slot corner.

Further, the linebacker group should help Maddox in the middle of the field. Kyzir White is a huge upgrade in coverage compared to Singleton. Maddox switching to the inside improved this defense as a whole last season. If he can replicate his success, that will be a big boost for the cornerback group.

Cornerback Two

James Bradberry IV found himself in free agency after he was cut by the Giants. This opened the door for the Eagles to get their CB 2 for the season. Bradberry inked a one-year, 10 million dollar deal with the Eagles. Bradberry had a Pro-Bowl season in 2020 but a down year in 2021. I am not putting too much weight into his performances last season since he played for an abysmal Giants team. However, Bradberry is a talented cornerback who will thrive opposite Slay. I expect a solid season from Bradberry, especially since he is on a one-year deal. If he has a big season, he is in for a payday next off-season, which hopefully elevates him back to his Pro Bowl form.

This Eagles defense should be interesting to watch at the start of the season. They have the potential to be one of the top units in football. There have been many additions in Reddick, White, Davis, Dean, and Bradberry. The cornerback group is the best the Eagles have had in years and will be an integral part of the team’s success.


Photo Credit: David Maialetti/Philadelphia Inquirer


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