Sunday, October 2, 2022

3-time pro bowler inducts Eagles playmaker into Hall of Fame

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Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay delivered one of the best performances of his Monday Night Football career in the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Vikings. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it one of the best performances a cornerback could pull off.

Slay knocked out arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, holding him on 1 reception for 7 yards on five goals with Slay being the closest defender. Meanwhile, Slay chose two of those passes. That was good enough to make him NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

That prompted former Browns and Steelers cornerer Joe Haden, a three-time Pro Bowler, to project Slay as a future Hall of Famer if he continues like this.

Haden is retiring after 12 seasons in the NFL, according to The Athletic. Haden accumulated 29 career interceptions, 615 total tackles, three Pro Bowls and one second-team All-Pro season. He is considered a borderline inductee for the Hall of Fame but is unlikely to be inducted.

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. Haden’s praise is certainly an honor in itself, but if Slay wants to earn a trip to Canton, he’s probably got a lot of work to do.

Looking 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 around 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 likely earn him a second All-Pro year, a fifth Pro Bowl, and get him closer to the interception number. With the Eagles’ defense improving week-on-week after Slay reported some communication issues, the sky seems to be the limit for Slay and his teammates.

If he can play a few more years after that, it’s definitely possible and he’s showing no signs of dropping out.

Haden wasn’t the only one to cause a stir with his praise. Hall of Famer cornerback and safety Rod Woodson believes Slay is putting on a season worthy of a Defensive Player of the Year award.

However, Woodson kindly attacked Slay for dropping a couple of interceptions in the game.

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

RG3’s tweet addressed something Slay alluded to 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 crashed or that the media offended him a little.

“I have a lot of respect but you know how it always goes man the older you get they think you fall off but I’m not one of them man I’m still at the 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’s just the media.

That was probably one of the reasons he was excited to fight with a receiver like Jefferson.

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

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

Finally, former Titans and Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty said Slay’s performance put him in “named” territory.

While Slay has told his teammates that he calls “Slay” instead of “Darius,” I’m not sure he’ll drop “Big Play” from his nickname. Nonetheless, it’s the kind of recognition that may have been too long in coming for the Eagles corner, but now it’s arrived in full force.

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

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