Panthers Activate Ex-Eagles CB, Top Cover Guy in Carolina

Rasul Douglas

Getty Panthers CB Rasul Douglas has been one of the top corners in football through seven weeks.

Remember Rasul Douglas? The Eagles’ former third-round pick from 2017 was jettisoned in the offseason and now he’s thriving in Carolina. Douglas was recently activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list and plans to make his return this week after missing the past two games. He has been the top-rated cornerback for the Panthers in 2020.

Douglas, who was waived on Sept. 5, was often criticized in Philadelphia for lacking speed and sometimes biting on double moves. Maybe the coaching staff just never utilized the 25-year-old properly in Jim Schwartz’s defensive scheme. Douglas has 27 tackles (one for loss) and six pass deflections in six games for Carolina.

Pro Football Focus ranked him the 21st-best corner in the NFL and his 75.6 coverage grade is a whopping five points better than his best season in Philly. More importantly, Douglas has been tasked with matching the opposition’s best receiver every week. With great results.

Another player with improved play in new surroundings, Rasul Douglas is on his way to the best season of his career in Carolina after his time in Philadelphia came to a close. Douglas currently has a 75.6 PFF coverage grade, which would represent more than a five-point jump from his best year with the Eagles. Douglas has also yet to be beaten for a touchdown and is allowing the lowest passer rating (74.0) of his career, including five pass breakups, even if he is still waiting for his first interception.

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Eagles Explain Decision to Cut Douglas

Looking at the rash of injuries at the cornerback spot in Philly and maybe the Eagles could have used Douglas. They released him and Sidney Jones on roster cut-down day, choosing instead to bank on young corner Craig James and keep six safeties on the 53. James has missed significant time due to injury, along with starter Avonte Maddox and slot corner Cre’Von LeBlanc.

“I think for us, with Rasul, when we look at that corner group, Craig James is a guy that obviously did a really nice job for us on special teams and he was a guy that every week during training camp,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said on Sept. 5. “We kind of said as a staff, talking with our coaches, let’s give him opportunities against better players, let’s give him an opportunity against better competition, and he rose to the occasion.”

So Douglas became expendable, the unfortunate victim of a numbers crunch. The West Virginia product was a good locker room guy and still keeps tabs on his former teammates in Philly, especially Darius Slay.

Panthers Add Former Eagles WR to Practice Squad

Douglas has some more Eagles company in Carolina after the Panthers signed Shelton Gibson to their practice squad. Gibson, a fifth-round pick in 2017, was a member of the Super Bowl championship team alongside Douglas. He finished with three receptions for 59 yards in 20 games in Philly, plus 194 special-teams snaps.

Gibson made his NFL debut in a late-season game versus Chicago in 2017 after being a healthy scratch for the first 10 weeks. He made the most of that opportunity.

“No jitters at all,” Gibson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia, “just because I’ve been listening to my coaches and every practice here is like a game. That’s how we practice every day. Just do the same thing every day.”

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