Ranking the top 10 cornerback duos in Eagles history


On paper, it sure looks like the Eagles have one of the most dynamic cornerback tandems in franchise history.

James Bradberry has 15 interceptions since he was drafted in the second round by the Panthers in 2016, and Darius Slay has 23 INTs since 2014, his first year as a starter with the Lions.

Bradberry made his first Pro Bowl in 2020, Slay made his fourth Pro Bowl last season.

Over the past six years, they’re the only NFL cornerbacks with 15 or more INTs and 80 or more pass breakups.

They still have to go out there and perform. We’ve all seen seeming sure things that turned into disaster. And it can be ugly. Especially at corner. But if Bradberry and Slay play up to expectations, the Eagles will have one of their best cornerback duos ever.

How good? We’ll answer that in January. But for now, let’s take a look at the top 10 Eagles cornerback duos throughout history.

1. Bobby Taylor / Troy Vincent [1996-2002]

The Eagles drafted Taylor in the second round in 1995 and signed Vincent a year later, creating one of the NFL’s top cornerback tandems. From 1996 through 2003, they manned the Eagles’ deep secondary alongside Hall of Fam safety Brian Dawkins.

During that eight-year period, Vincent went to five Pro Bowls and Taylor one, and the Eagles reached the playoffs five times, had the No. 4 pass defense in the NFL and allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns.

2. Lito Sheppard / Sheldon Brown [2002-2007]

Taylor and Vincent were still going strong when the Eagles drafted Sheppard and Brown in 2002. Sheppard became a starter in 2003 and Brown in 2004, and from 2004 through 2008 they were as good a combo as there was in the NFL.

They combined for 37 interceptions and six pick-6’s during a period the Eagles went to two NFC Championship Games and had the NFL’s 4th-best pass defense.

3. Eric Allen / Ben Smith [1990-1991, 1993]

If Smith hadn’t torn his knee up in Cleveland late in the 1991 season Allen and Smith might have been the best Eagles cornerback duo ever. Smith, the Eagles’ 1st-round pick in 1990, was a budding star his first year and a half before tearing up his knee in the same game he ended Bernie Kosar’s NFL-record streak of passes without an interception.

Smith was never the same, although he did play another four years, mainly at safety. But for the 1990 playoff season and much of the record-setting 1991 season, Allen and Smith were as good as anybody.

4. Herm Edwards / Roynell Young [1980-1985]

Edwards had 33 career interceptions, 8th-most in NFL history by a corner who never made a Pro Bowl. He was just a very consistent and steady player, and starting in his fourth season he was matched up with Young, the Eagles’ 1st-round pick in 1980, a starter from Day 1 and a Pro Bowler by Year 2.

For six years, including the 1980 Super Bowl season, they gave the Eagles outstanding cornerback play spanning the Dick Vermeil and Marion Campbell eras.

5. Tom Brookshier / Jimmy Carr [1959-1961]

Brooksheir spent his entire seven-year career with the Eagles and Carr was here for five years, but they only overlapped for three years — the last three years of Brookshier’s career.

During this span, Brookie made two Pro Bowls and had six interceptions and Carr had nine interceptions, and the Eagles won an NFL-high 27 games and won their third NFL Championship. 

6. Sheldon Brown / Asante Samuel [2008-2009]

For one year, the Eagles had Sheppard, Brown and Samuel, and for two years Brown and Samuel were the starters.

Talk about two dynamic corners.

In two years playing alongside Brown, Samuel had 13 interceptions and made two Pro Bowls and Brown had six INTs and should have made a Pro Bowl. In 2009, Samuel had nine INTs and Brown had five, the only time in franchise history both Eagles corners had at least five INTs.

The Eagles made the playoffs both years they played together, had the 5th-ranked pass defense in the league over those two seasons and reached the NFC Championship Game in 2008.

7. Eric Allen / Mark McMillian [1992-1994]

After Ben Smith’s injury, McMillian held down CB2 across from Allen for the next few years. The 5-foot-7, 154-pound McMillian — originally a 10th-round pick — had eight INTs in four years with the Eagles and 23 in his career, including eight with three pick-6’s with the Chiefs in 1997.

During their three years together, Allen had 13 INTs, four pick-6’s and made the Pro Bowl each year.

8. Jalen Mills / Ronald Darby [2017-2019]

They only started 25 games together over three years, but you have to include Mills and Darby for what they did down the stretch and in the postseason in 2017.

They’re the only cornerbacks in Eagles history to win a Super Bowl as starters, and as inconsistent as both may have been the rest of their career, they both played terrific football during the Super Bowl season and the playoffs. 

9. Irv Cross / Ben Scotti [1962-1963]

Another duo that only got two years together, but Cross and Scotti were a solid tandem during a couple lean years during the Nick Skorich era.

Cross only spent five years with the Eagles but had 15 INTs and Scotti, a Newark, N.J., native, who went undrafted out of Maryland, was only here two years but had five INTs. In their two years together, Cross had seven INTs and Scotti had five. 

10. Joe Lavender / John Outlaw [1973-1975]

Outlaw spent his last six years with the Eagles after starting his career with the Patriots, and had 13 interceptions from 1973 through 1977.

During his three years playing alongside Lavender, he had nine INTs, and Lavender had four before moving on to Washington, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler. Really good corners on really bad teams.

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