Darius Slay believes in Eagles’ corners, impressed by Zech McPhearson

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Slay gives scouting report on rookie McPhearson originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If Darius Slay is as concerned about the Eagles’ cornerback situation as the rest of Philadelphia, he isn’t letting anyone know.

In fact, last week, Slay seemed downright excited about the Eagles’ corners.

“We’re going to be great, man,” Slay said. “Coaches are doing a great job right now and the scheme he’s got for us right now is putting us in position to make plays. He’s going to put us in the best possible position we can be. I believe in the guys that’s in the room. Shoot, staff do too. We’re just looking forward. We’re just going to be competing each and every day, myself included. We’re going to lead these guys and we’re going to go out there and do our thing.”

Of course, the Eagles didn’t put the kind of resources into the cornerback position this offseason most fans were hoping they would. There was no big free agent signing, their one trade was for a second-year 5-foot-9 nickel and they waited until the fourth round to draft one.

But maybe Zech McPhearson could be the Eagles’ X-factor at the position.

The Eagles waited until the fourth round to select McPhearson out of Texas Tech but said afterward that they thought about traded back into the third round to select him. Instead, he was there for them at No. 123.

What does Slay think of McPhearson?

“Quick twitch guy. Got good ball skills. He’s very aggressive, man,” Slay said. “He knows how to attack the ball in all kinds of ways. I’m looking forward to watching him compete when I’m out there. Like I’ve been telling him for a long time, discipline is going to make us move forward. If you can be a smart, disciplined guy, you’ll be a great corner in this league.”

It’s probably foolish to expect too much from McPhearson too early but if he looks good in training camp, there’s no reason he won’t play a significant role as a rookie in 2021.

We know Slay will be the Eagles’ CB1 but there’s not much we know the position after that. Avonte Maddox is in line to be CB2 again but perhaps the Eagles aren’t done adding at the position. Because after Maddox and McPhearson, the Eagles have a group that includes newcomers Josiah Scott and Shakial Taylor, along with Craig James, Michael Jacquet, Kevon Seymour and Lavert Hill.

The last time the Eagles drafted a cornerback in the fourth round, it was Maddox in 2018. He ended up playing a ton as a rookie and had a very good season.

Unless the Eagles add another player in the next few months, McPhearson is going to have a shot to play.

“I’m very comfortable with that room right now,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. “(DBs coach) Dennard Wilson, (assistant DBs coach) D.K. McDonald, they're doing an excellent job. They're two really good DB coaches. I've learned a ton from those guys in the last few months. It's been awesome. So very comfortable with that room. Excited to see them get out there and compete. I think Slay can go to another level. I think everybody in that room can elevate their game and play winning football for us.”

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