After the Philadelphia Eagles took recovering cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round, they were still left with a need at the position because of the uncertainty of Jones’ injury. In the third round the Eagles took a big corner(6’2, 209) out of West Virginia. Rasul Douglas is a similar build to Richard Sherman and a similar playing style as Charles Tillman.
Douglas has a great story and a drive like nobody else in this draft class. He grew up in a rough neighborhood, was so poor as a JUCO player that he had to make a $1 fast food sandwich has lunch and dinner(one sandwich, two meals) and finally caught a break in life when he received a full scholarship at West Virginia. He’s had to work his ass off for everything in his life and it shows when you watch him on tape. Several corners were faster, but I wouldn’t bet against this kid. Sometimes a prospect’s drive and focus matter more than anything else.
As a late third round pick I love the value with Douglas. He’s good enough to start right away as an outside corner and he fits the scheme well. He can play zone and man and he gets after it in run support. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will love his style of play and he has a great opportunity to start right away.
WEAKNESSES- The more space Douglas has to cover in, the more of a liability he becomes. Now that is true with any corner, but especially with Douglas because he has average speed. The Eagles played a ton of single high coverage last season which would be an issue with Douglas going forward, but I believe they will play more press coverage now with more corner depth inside.
A couple times on tape Douglas caught torched on a quick inside move because he played too far outside off the snap. He gave up a touchdown and a crucial first down against Oklahoma State because he played too far outside and both plays he was covering the shorter side of the field. He has too much length to have to cheat playing a little outside, ideally he should cheat inside and rely on his reach to bail him out on fades and any quick passes to the outside.
Douglas may tackle like a linebacker, but at times he takes pursuit angles like a punter. He overpursues, waits to take on blocks on wide receiver screens and just lets himself get out of position.
STRENGTHS- Douglas may not have a ton of experience playing press coverage, but he plays very physical in every coverage. Some are concerned about him adjusting to press, but because of his style of play it should be a quick transition.
I love his ball skills and instincts at the position. He had 8 interceptions and a few forced fumbles as well. He’ll bait the quarterback on shorter passes and his hands and length make him such a risk to throw in tight coverage.
NFL PROJECTION- Douglas is going to be a starter early in 2017 and make an immediate impact. He’ll make the defense more physical and he will be that corner you can match-up against the bigger receivers the Eagles will face like Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Terrelle Pryor. I don’t think he has a super high ceiling, but he could be a solid starter for the next decade.