Philadelphia Eagles: Rasul Douglas has officially made his debut at safety

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

In a game filled with injuries to defensive backs, Rasul Douglas finally made his debut at safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and looked like a natural.

Attention Philadelphia Eagles fans: The Rasul Douglas safety-era has finally arrived.

After (literally) month of anticipation, an unfortunate string of injuries in the Eagles’ Week 6 bout against the New York Giants forced Jim Schwartz and Cory Undlin to get creative with their defensive backfield, shuffling their lineaments around to remain competitive against the like of Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.

The end result? Douglas recorded a season-high 42 defensive snaps, including 35 as the team’s free safety according to Pro Football Focus.

Was Douglas perfect in his debut at his new position? No, as he finished out the game with a slightly above average 52.5 PFF overall rating, but that was spread out over two different defensive positions, including one that he hasn’t played since college.

Honestly, had he not received a brutal 22.0 tackle rating, easily one of the worst marks of any player on the team, that rating would have been a whole lot higher.

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While this move has been long overdue in the eyes of many Philly fans, it’s one the team appeared very apprehensive to make thus far in Douglas’ career, with Schwartz going so far as to call him ‘mainly an outside corner‘ on October 2nd.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and much like Avonte Maddox‘s transition to safety following Rodney Mcleod‘s Week 3 injury, it would appear Douglas too will be forced to play double duty moving forward.

A decision that could certainly help to shore up the defensive secondary both now and moving forward.

Sure, Douglas may not be the fastest player in the league, as he ran an unusually slow 4.59 40 at the 2016 NFL Draft Combine, but his big body and freaky abilities as a ball hawk could make him an intriguing defensive chess piece capable of matching up against specific players across offensive formations.

Who knows, we very well may see Douglas lined up over a wide receiver like Devin Funchess on one play, and chasing down Cam Newton on an extended scramble the next in the Birds Week 7 return to the Linc to face off against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

That’s the kind of versatility Douglas brings to the table.

Much like former Eagles DB Eric Rowe, a player that fans sometimes mistake Rasul for online, Douglas played a little it of everything in college, and this cross-training should prove invaluable for a player without a well-defined position available at the next level. While he could be a solid outside cornerback one day, as he measures out like a poor man’s Richard Sherman (in a good way), the top of the Eagles depth chart appears set moving forward, no matter how much fans would like it to change.

Though Douglas may be an outside corner in the eyes of Schwartz, and could eventually fill that role full-time for the team down the line, if his performance in Week 6 is of any indication, it looks like number 32 could, and should be in line for a serious uptick in snaps over the back half of the 2018 NFL season, especially if Corey Graham remains out with a hamstring injury.

While there’s an old adage in football that states that a player typically doesn’t lose their spot due to an injury, I think it’s pretty safe to say the Philadelphia Eagles have found their new big nickles safety for the foreseeable future, especially if Maddox continues to make plays in the slot.

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