Rasul Douglas In Line To Start Sunday

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

With Jalen Mills sidelined due to a foot sprain suffered in the game against the Jaguars, cornerback Rasul Douglas has been taking first team reps at practice and figures to be the starting cornerback opposite Ronald Darby this Sunday night against the Cowboys.

Douglas, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, played in 41% of defensive snaps in 2017. He was third on the team in passes defensed with 14, behind only Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson (both 22). He also registered two interceptions.

Despite his playmaking ability, Douglas played primarily as a backup and saw most of his playing time while Ronald Darby was on injured reserve. The Eagles secondary was intact for the playoffs, so Douglas ended up not playing a single defensive snap in those games (although he did play on special teams).

This season, with the additions of Avonte Maddox and a healthy Sidney Jones, Douglas has played very little despite three players (McLeod, Jones, Graham) being injured. Halfway through the season, he has played on 18% of defensive plays for the Eagles, nearly all of them in relief for Mills in London and at safety against the Giants.

Even though Douglas has gotten so little playing time, he has already registered an interception and two defensed passes. The interception came in the season opener when he came into the game in relief for only two snaps and Matt Ryan decided to test him. It is one of only four interceptions the Eagles have this season.

It can be expected that Douglas will be tested against the Cowboys. The Jaguars tried it for much of the game after Mills went down, routinely testing Douglas and Dexter McDougle. Douglas will be able to benefit off of playing against some of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Of the 32 qualified quarterbacks, Blake Bortles ranks 22 and Dak Prescott ranks 24 in total quarterback ranking.

One of the knocks against Douglas is that he can get too flat footed and can make too much contact with receivers downfield. The Cowboys offensive scheme should help with that as they tend to play to Dak’s strength – short passes that Rasul should be able to break on.

Douglas has a chance to solidify his future with the team in this game. The Eagles will likely lose Ronald Darby to free agency and will need a starting outside corner. This game could be an ideal chance to prove he can be that guy.