May 15, 2017
Last week in an Eagles mailbag, we answered whether or not rookie third-round pick Rasul Douglas should be listed as a starting corner before training camp even began, seeing as how the Eagles corner situation is what it is.
The "too long; didn't read" version is that it is indeed too early to think of Douglas as a starter before anyone has even seen what he can do in a practice setting against NFL vets. A common response to that mailbag response was that the Eagles should just throw Douglas to the wolves to see if he survives or folds. After all, that's what they did with Jalen Mills to some degree last season.
Douglas won't play unless he gives the Eagles reason to believe that he can, beyond the fact that they drafted him. However, I was curious to see what Jim Schwartz's history is with rookie corners who have been drafted to play in his defense in his stops in Tennessee, Detroit, Buffalo, and now Philly. Here's what I found.
|2016||Jalen Mills||Round 7, pick 233||16||2|
|2014||Ross Cockrell||Round 4, pick 109||7||0|
|2013||Darius Slay||Round 2, pick 36||13||4|
|2012||Bill Bentley||Round 3, pick 85||4||3|
|2012||Chris Greenwood||Round 5, pick 148||0||0|
|2012||Jonte Green||Round 6, pick 196||15||5|
|2010||Amari Spievey||Round 3, pick 66||15||9|
|2008||Cary "Sconces" Williams||Round 7, pick 229||1||0|
|2007||Ryan Smith||Round 6, pick 206||0||0|
|2006||Cortland Finnegan||Round 7, pick 215||16||2|
|2005||Pacman Jones||Round 1, pick 6||15||13|
|2005||Vincent Fuller||Round 4, pick 108||2||0|
|2005||Reynaldo Hill||Round 7, pick 218||15||10|
|2004||Rich Garner||Round 3, pick 92||15||1|
|2004||Michael Waddell||Round 4, pick 124||16||4|
|2003||Andre Woolfolk||Round 1, pick 28||6||2|
|2003||Donnie Nickey||Round 5, pick 154||12||0|
|2002||Mike Echols||Round 4, pick 110||4||0|
|2002||Tony Beckham||Round 4, pick 115||14||0|
|2001||Andre Dyson||Round 2, pick 60||14||12|
Some observations on the above:
• Of the 20 players listed above, 18 played in at least one game in their rookie seasons. 12 started at least one game. Seven started at least four games. In other words, rookies play under Jim Schwartz, so Douglas has a good chance to contribute if he shows anything.
• Interesting, however, none of the above players started every game they appeared in. They all had to wait a few weeks before getting their shot to start. The only player would might have started Week 1 under Schwartz was Pacman Jones, who had a long holdout after he was drafted sixth overall in 2005, and didn't start that season until Week 3.
• Schwartz doesn't care where you were drafted. In the above chart, four corners were drafted in the seventh round. Three of them played in at least 15 games their rookie seasons, and all three also started at least two games.
• Of the 20 cornerbacks drafted while Jim Schwartz was either the head coach or defensive coordinator of his team, only two didn't make the team as rookies. They were Titans 2007 sixth-round pick Ryan Smith, and Lions 2012 fifth-round pick Chris Greenwood. You could also maybe include Blake Countess, who played corner in college, but was always in the Eagles' plans at safety. Rasul Douglas would either have to be beyond awful (or he'd have to throw his own poop at Jeffrey Lurie or something) not to make the team.
• One more small observation in regard to the progression of Jalen Mills from Year 1 to Year 2. While I don't want to make any predictions here, I did find the following rookie statistical comparison interesting while compiling the above chart:
|Cortland Finnegan (14 games, 2 starts)||7th round, pick 215||70||7||0|
|Jalen Mills (14 games, 2 starts)||7th round, pick 233||62||7||0|
Finnegan made it to the Pro Bowl his third year in the NFL in 2008, not that we're predicting the same for Mills.
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