Although quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense have garnered most of the attention, cornerback Darius Slay deserves attention, too.
Slay has two interceptions through two games, both against the Vikings in Week 2. According to Pro Football Focus, the 31-year-old has an 84.8 grade, tied for second among corners. During Week 2 of his 10th NFL season, Slay earned NFL Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The Eagles have prioritized having a lockdown corner in recent years. Slay was languishing on a bad Lions team when they traded third- and fifth-round picks to Detroit in 2020. The Eagles’ secondary play has improved under Slay in his third season in Philadelphia.
Slay clamped down on WR Justin Jefferson, one of the NFL’s brightest young stars. Of Jefferson’s 12 targets, he caught six passes for 48 yards. On five targets, he made one catch for five yards against Slay. As a result of the matchup, Slay had more interceptions than Jefferson had receptions.
After his first pick, Slay delivered an interception ball to Sixers star James Harden.
During a postgame news conference, Slay reiterated his belief in himself.
“Jefferson is one of the best in the world, but I’m one of the best as well,” he said. As a result, I was looking forward to the matchup.”
The development of Slay as a team leader is perhaps even more impressive than his play. The goofy player fought back tears when he was named team captain, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
It was no surprise that Slay became a vocal leader for the Eagles. Cornerback Avonte Maddox called him “one of my favorite leaders.”
In his third season in Philadelphia, Slay is clearly more comfortable on the field and in the locker room. Jonathan Gannon, the defensive coordinator, also praised his star.