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Slay gives his initial impressions on Eagles' rookie cornerbacks

Six-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay gave his early impressions on the Eagles' two rookie CBs Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean.

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Eagles cornerback Darius Slay is 33 now and he’s entering his 12th NFL season in 2024.

He doesn’t have many years left in him.

“Ahh s—, not too many,” Slay said at OTAs on Wednesday. “I’m not going to just keep playing. I’m going to let these young guys eat. That’s what I’m here for, to make sure these guys get there. And when my time is up, it’s up.”

A big part of Slay’s role this season is to pass along knowledge to rookies Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean, who were taken by the Birds with the 22nd and 40th picks in this year’s draft out of Toledo and Iowa, respectively.

There’s a good chance that Mitchell and DeJean are going to be the future of the Eagles at the cornerback position. And that future could be very bright.

What were Slay’s first impressions of Mitchell?

“Great. A lot of great things, man,” the six-time Pro Bowler said. “Quick dude, got a quick twitch. I love his off-man. I’m real good at off-man, what I do. I watched his tape in college for a good minute. Some things that I’m going to help him with for sure that he asked me about already to do and that’s my duty to do. I’m looking forward to helping him because I see a great talent in him. I’m looking forward to seeing him make a lot of plays for this organization.”

The Eagles had a rookie camp shortly after the draft but began OTAs this week. This is the first chance for Slay to share a field with the two rookies. And since neither rookie was with the first unit on Wednesday — the Eagles are bringing them along slowly — it meant that Slay got to watch all of their reps.

Mitchell on Wednesday (at the OTA practice open to reporters) worked as a second-team outside cornerback, while DeJean took snaps at both nickel cornerback and outside corner.

What did Slay think of DeJean?

“Good, man. He’s very athletic,” Slay said. “You see a guy that’s versatile. He was everywhere.

“Both of them right now are just quiet. I’m trying to get them to talk a little bit. Both of these guys, very athletic, very talented, I’m looking forward to continuing to keep working. This is my first day with them. Besides watching their film, seeing them in person is amazing to watch. I just remember my days from me being young.”

The Eagles have a bit of a logjam at cornerback right now with 14 on the roster this spring. There are plenty of unknowns but the one lock is that Slay is going to be one of the starting corners.

Even though they weren't with the top unit in the second OTA practice of the spring, there’s a strong chance that both Mitchell and DeJean will have major roles in the defense in 2024. One of Slay’s biggest messages to the rookies is to simply know their assignments.

You wouldn’t be in the league if you couldn’t compete, Slay has told the rookies. So they just have to know their stuff and let their athleticism take over.

And if the rookies have any questions along the way, Slay will be happy to answer them.

“I was talking them today just letting them know, I’m always here for y’all,” Slay said. “Anything y’all need from me, I got you. I’m here to give them the blueprint for everything to make sure they succeed at this level. That’s my job to do.”

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