Rasul Douglas had quite the 2018 season for the Philadelphia Eagles, establishing himself as one of the most reliable cornerbacks on the Eagles roster. Once Jalen Mills went down, Douglas started and played very well, allowing 50 catches for 641 yards (12.8 yards per catch) and three touchdowns, while also having three interceptions.
Opposing quarterbacks had a 92.3 passer rating when targeting Douglas, one of the playmakers and better tacklers in the Eagles secondary. Douglas has 58 tackles and four pass breakups in 2018. He also has five interceptions in two seasons.
That was the Rasul Douglas of 2018. Now he’s a cornerback who has completely transformed his body, as displayed in an Instagram story by Douglas last week.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson saw a more confident Douglas last December, a player Douglas is carrying over to 2019.
“It’s just giving those guys an opportunity and being in a position, and just, again, just trusting the scheme, understanding the defense, being in a position, and not doing any more than that,” Pederson said last December. “You don’t have to go looking for plays. Plays are going to come your way when you do make them and that’s what you’re starting to see with these young guys.”
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants to keep Douglas on the outside, as he admitted last August. Douglas will compete with Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Sidney Jones for one of the two outside cornerback jobs.
“Just his body shape. He’s a tall, linear guy. He’s got a lot of strengths, but he’s not as laterally quick side-to-side as some of those other guys. So, that’s one of the reasons we’ve sort of left him in there,” Schwartz said. “And that’s no slight to him, it’s just his skill set. He’s got great length.”
The Eagles will rely on Douglas with Darby and Mills still rehabbing season-ending injuries from last season. Darby is the front-runner for the starting cornerback job, but Mills’s spot appears open.
Mills allowed 32 catches for 516 yards and one touchdown in eight games last season, with no interceptions and nine pass breakups. Opposing quarterbacks had a 107.2 passer rating when targeting Mills this season. There’s the opportunity for Douglas.
Jones can’t be counted out of the equation either, as he arguably has the most pure talent of the cornerbacks on the roster. Jones had success early in 2018, but a hamstring injury limited him in the middle of the season. Once Jones returned from his first hamstring injury, he was a liability in coverage and inefficient in his tackling. The Eagles secondary suffered with Jones on the field as he was playing though another hamstring injury trying to help the team out.