3-Time Pro Bowler Projects Eagles’ Playmaker to Hall of Fame

Darius Slay

Getty The most valuable praise in any sport comes from colleagues and opponents, and some of his fellow cornerbacks are projecting big honors for Eagles cornerback Darius Slay.

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay had one of the best performances of his career on Monday Night Football in the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Vikings. In fact, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to call it one of the best performances any cornerback could put together.

Slay shut down arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, holding him to 1 reception for 7 yards on five targets with Slay being the closest defender. Meanwhile, Slay picked two of those passes off. That was good enough to make him the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

That led former Browns and Steelers corner Joe Haden, a three-time Pro Bowler, to project Slay as a future Hall of Famer if he keeps this up.

Haden is retiring after 12 seasons in the NFL, according to The Athletic. Haden racked up 29 interceptions, 615 total tackles, three Pro Bowls, and one second-team All-Pro season in his career. He’s considered a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, but probably won’t get in.

Slay is currently two games into his 10th season, and already has 25 interceptions, 465 total tackles, four Pro Bowl appearances and one first-team All-Pro season. While the praise from Haden is certainly an honor in its own right, if Slay wants to earn a trip to Canton, he likely has his work cut out for him.

Taking a look at some of the modern cornerbacks in the Hall of Fame, names like Aeneas Williams, Deion Sanders, Ty Law, and Champ Bailey, the floor seems to be about 50 interceptions, 2 All-Pros (three of the four have at least five), and five Pro Bowls (three of the four have at least 8).

That said, it’s easy to see Slay racking up a few more picks this year and that would probably earn him a second All-Pro year, a fifth Pro Bowl, and get him closer to the interception number. With the Eagles defense improving from week-to-week after Slay called out some communications issues, the sky appears to be the limit for Slay and his teammates.

If he’s able to play a few more years after that, it’s definitely possible, and he shows no signs of dropping off.


Hall of Famer Rod Woodson Says Darius Slay Can Be Defensive Player of the Year

Haden wasn’t the only one bringing the heat with his praise. Rod Woodson, a Hall of Fame cornerback and safety, thinks Slay is putting together a season worthy of a Defensive Player of the Year award.

That said, Woodson did take a friendly jab at Slay for dropping a couple of interceptions in the game.


Former Rival QB of Eagles On Slay: It’s Time to ‘Give Him His Flowers’

Meanwhile, former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, also had some kind words for Slay after his prime time performance.

RG3’s tweet spoke to something Slay hinted at in some of his quotes. He prides himself on being one of the best corners in the game, and knows that some people think he’s been falling off, or that the media has slighted him a bit.

“I’ve got a lot of respect, but you know how it always goes man, the older you get they think you’re falling off, but I ain’t one of them guys man, I’m still at an elite level,” Slay said during his post-game press conference. “I deserve a lot of respect in this league. I think the league respects me enough, it just be the media.”

That was likely part of the reason he was looking forward to battling with a receiver like Jefferson.

“He is one of the best in the world, and shoot, I’m one of the best in the world too, so I was looking forward to the matchup,” Slay said.

His performance in the matchup certainly earned him plenty of “flowers,” as RG3 put it.

Last but not least, former Titans and Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty said that Slay’s showing put him in “one name,” territory.

While Slay does has told teammates that he goes by “Slay” instead of “Darius,” I’m not so sure he’ll be looking to drop “Big Play” from his nickname. Never the less, it’s the type of recognition that has perhaps been too long coming for the Eagles corner, but now it’s arrived in full force.

 

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