Philadelphia Eagles: Rasul Douglas deserves to start… on another team

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After hauling in a game-changing interception on his first target, is it time for the Philadelphia Eagles to cash in on Rasul Douglas to a CB hungry team?

One of the most interesting Philadelphia Eagles storylines that developed over the preseason had to do with the team’s cornerbacks position, mainly, that the team had six potential starting-caliber players but only three starting spots.

Now granted, that question was at least partially answered on Saturday, when the Eagles waived dark horse candidate De’Vante Bausby and later secured him a spot on the practice squad, but the team’s Week 1 bout against the Atlanta Falcons was our first glimpse of the Eagles’ new-look secondary, and what role each player would fill.

Those answers came swiftly.

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With the starting trio of Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Sidney Jones each flashing in their first starts of the season, the Birds’ D kept the Falcons’ passing offense out of the end zone while only giving up 251 yards through the air. It would appear that Jim Schwartz isn’t going to miss Patrick Robinson anytime soon, as Jones looks surprisingly natural on the inside.

And then Rasul Douglas happened.

After Darby exited the game due to fatigue, Douglas was called into action as the Eagles’ first outside corner off the bench, and was immediately tasked with taking on Julio Jones one-on-one in the endzone. Granted, this is a matchup Douglas should be able to at least hold his own in, as at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, he’s a perfect height, weight, speed match up to go against Jones, but what happened next took everyone by surprise.

Now I know that turn of phrase is typically reserved for click bait, but did anyone seriously predict that Douglas would pick off Matt Ryan on the very first play he was in the game?

Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Douglas watching at home, but to go from spending the vast majority of the game on the sideline to immediately taking on arguably the best wide receiver in football and making a game-changing play in the red zone is pretty impressive.

That’s the kind of play starters make.

So, why is Philly letting Douglas waste away on the bench?

Now granted, I understand that he’s not the most versatile corner in the league, as defensive coordinators like Schwartz prefer faster, more agile corners like Darby, but on a team like the Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, or even the Atlanta Falcons, Douglas has some serious value.

Value that Howie Roseman would be wise to cash in on sooner, rather than later.

Though Philly noticeably struggled on the offensive side of the ball against the Falcons, it’s pretty clear that the team doesn’t have too many glaring holes.

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Even the team’s two thinnest position groups, wide receiver and linebacker played surprisingly well for a Week 1 game, a trend that will surely continue to Trend up words once Alshon Jeffery and Nigel Bradham return from injury and suspension respectively.

So outside of packaging Douglas for a player like Le’Veon Bell, or swapping him for another former blue-chip prospect buried on a depth chart like former Penn State stand out and Tennessee Titans second-round pick Austin Johnson, it seems like there are plenty of teams that would be willing to part with a Day 2 draft pick to add Douglas to their DB room.

Netting a second round pick for his services would be a great return on investment for the third round pick the team initially used to procure Douglas.

And frankly, it’s a move the Eagles should make.

At this point, the team’s top three corners are all but locked in, with Avonte Maddox serving as a potential steal who could slot in as a top-tier nickel corner should Philly lose either Mills or Darby in free agency. When you add in the fact that Bausby is still only a call-up away from the active 53, Douglas is quickly finding himself a man without a long-term position.

Flipping Douglas for an immediate upgrade, an ideal scheme fitting prospect, or even a Day 2 draft pick would give the team more value then allowing Douglas to sit on the bench week in and week out, only logging the occasional relief snap, even if he is batting a thousand intercepting passes coming his way.

Sure, moving on from Douglas doesn’t come without its risks, as the Eagles are always a play away from losing Darby or Mills for the season, but between Jones, Bausby, and Maddox, the roster is built in such a way that loss could be fairly well mitigated.

And in the NFL, most teams are an injury away from disaster. Had Nelson Agholor sustained an injury in last night’s game, the Eagles would have been without their best receiver and passer and been forced to rely on a motley crew of DeAndre Carter, Markus Wheaton, and Mike Wallace to finish out the game.

Say what you will about Maddox or Busby, but I’d rather see either of those players take on a larger role than a player like Wheaton who very well may be out of a job when the Eagles have to trim their roster by one spot to accommodate the returns of starting weak-side linebacker Nigel Bradham and do-it-all defender Deiondre Hall.

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So will the Philadelphia Eagles trade Rasul Douglas over the next few days? Probably not, but if a package were to present itself that could provide the Eagles with more value in either short, intermediate, or long-term, it would be wise to at least consider moving on from Douglas. In a salary cap driven league, cornerbacks on rookie deals hold immense value, value that is currently being wasted on the bench.