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Who should the Eagles start at cornerback across from Darius Slay?

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Breaking down the top two CB2 options.

NFL: OCT 07 Vikings at Eagles Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello again BGN, I hope you are all staying safe and well in these crazy times. I decided to do something different for this film room so let me know what you think. Not all film rooms will be like this but I thought I would see what you think! I wanted to break down Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones, so I decided to break them down in one piece and then summarize what I think at the end of the article about who should start at cornerback opposite Darius Slay this season.

Rather than break down specific plays like I have done before, I am just going to summarize my positives and negatives on each player and also provide some clips to show you what I am talking about! Also, if you want even more detail, I discussed both these two players in my most recent podcast so feel free to check it out!

Right, let’s get into Maddox first and then Jones after.

AVONTE MADDOX

POSITIVES

  • Quick processing speed in zone coverage to read QB. Understands depth and situation well, more likely to give up the short completion and make the tackle than get beat deep.
  • Can run with guys downfield and play ball in the air.
  • Very fluid, explosive hips, quick in and out of his breaks. Has the ability to cover inside and out.
  • Ability to line up inside and outside.
  • Super athletic. Agility is great and he plays ‘fast and urgent’.
  • Great knack for breaking up balls thrown over him. Times his swat very well, uses his eyes well to see when the WR is going up to get the ball.
  • Very competitive in the run game. Feisty but undersized. Ends up on the floor a lot but very competitive.

NEGATIVES

  • Small but rarely ever beat on jump balls on the outside. However, can’t ignore sub 30” arms. Limits his press ability.
  • Too often beat at the LOS by receivers. Doesn’t have arm length to stop shiftier WRs from getting a free release.
  • Ruined by Davante Adams at times when asked to cover him outside.
  • Too slow to close on WR when playing off coverage. Gives up too many short completions.
  • No INT last year.

SIDNEY JONES

POSITIVES

  • Very good instincts for finding the football when it is in the air. Great ball skills.
  • Physical when the ball is in the air.
  • Can matchup in man coverage well, shows ability to run with receivers in their routes.
  • Breaks on the ball really well and is able to come under routes when playing close to line of scrimmage and knock the ball away.
  • Shows the ability to press WRs at the line of scrimmage.
  • Very competitive in the run game. Solid 1 on 1 tackler who is not afraid of lowering his shoulder.

NEGATIVES

  • Made a number of recoveries last year which were the result of poor QB play. Was lucky not to give up more big plays than he did.
  • Caught flat footed far too often in man coverage, allows WRs to run past him way too easily. Needs to improve his footwork and technique.
  • Doesn’t look fast when asked to cover WRs down the field. Speedy WRs will cause him trouble.
  • Better in press than off coverage, can be slower in off-man. Too grabby at times and will give up too many pass interference.
  • Limited amount of snaps. Only 205 snaps in pass coverage last season.
  • Not sure he is fluid enough to play in the slot, profiles as an outside CB.

OVERALL

I always try and be objective when watching players for a film room piece and try to ignore what I previously thought about a player. If I’m honest with you though, I went into this thinking that Sidney Jones was pretty useless and that Maddox was clearly a superior player. After watching both players, I still really like Maddox but I am actually a little higher on Jones than I expected. He has clear flaws in his technique, especially when in off coverage, but he has another talent to not completely give up on him. However, I really do not think he is ready to start until he cleans up some of his issues.

I think Maddox is a really solid slot cornerback and should be fine as an outside cornerback too. You rarely see him lose jump balls despite his height and as I mentioned in the piece, I think his arm length is arguably a bigger problem than his size. He will struggle against more physical receivers on the outside but I think he will give up less big plays than Jones will. He is more athletic, and moves better than Jones does too. He won’t be a perfect cornerback 2 but he should be good enough.

Overall, the Eagles probably have their best group of cornerbacks since... 2008? Darius Slay is a star and Nickell Robey-Coleman is a great slot cornerback. I expect Slay to travel with the opposing teams top receiver so I don’t expect to see Maddox or Jones having to line up opposite a team’s ‘X’ star receiver like Davante Adams next year. I think Maddox will be able to handle most teams number 2 receiver fine and I hope that Sidney Jones can play in Dime packages while he works on his technique.

Poll

Which cornerback should start across from Darius Slay?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Avonte Maddox
    (1606 votes)
  • 44%
    Sidney Jones
    (1307 votes)
2913 votes total Vote Now