Philadelphia Eagles: Ronald Darby injury creates role for Rasul Douglas

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles tends to cornerback Ronald Darby
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles tends to cornerback Ronald Darby /

With key offseason addition Ronald Darby out of action after a dislocated ankle, another cornerback will need to step up. Rasul Douglas is primed to not only play meaningful snaps but also produce.

The trade of Jordan Matthews took many by surprise, but adding an experienced cornerback to a below average secondary was a deemed a success. Ronald Darby proved in his short stint as an Eagle during the preseason that he could play. Lining up as the team’s top cornerback would give the Eagles a veteran presence that would help the younger players improve on the fly, along with covering the opponents top receiver.

That plan came to a halt after a first half dislocated ankle for Darby in Week 1 against the Redskins. The injury seemed much worse than it actually was, as Darby is only expected to miss 4-6 weeks, avoiding ligament damage along the way. With the Philadelphia Eagles top cornerback now out for over a month, someone will need to step up. Rasul Douglas was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft this offseason, yet was a healthy inactive for Week 1. Deemed unready to play by coaches, there doesn’t seem like much of a choice other than to play Douglas.

Coming out of West Virginia, Douglas looked the part of someone who could have an immediate impact on the team. Struggling at times in training camp and the preseason put Douglas behind the eight ball, and with the addition of Darby, Douglas would be given time to hone his craft without being thrown into the fire. Patrick Robinson took over the starting role in the second half against the Redskins, but he fits better as a nickel cornerback than on the outside.

Rasul Douglas has what it takes to be a difference maker in the NFL. He may have a few hiccups, as any rookie in the NFL may have, but giving him playing time will help in the long run. The Philadelphia Eagles have proof in that exact thought process, as second-year cornerback Jalen Mills is now a solid starter after playing through rookie struggles.

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The Philadelphia Eagles cornerback group isn’t an elite group in the NFL, but with so much youth and potential, it’s worth taking a look at some younger players. Ronald Darby’s injury is a tough blow to the defense, but Rasul Douglas’ potential emergence should soften that blow considerably.