Starter, Special Teams, Cheerleader: Rasul Douglas Ready for Any Role - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Starter, Special Teams, Cheerleader: Rasul Douglas Ready for Any Role



    Starter, Special Teams, Cheerleader: Rasul Douglas Ready for Any Role
    Starter, special teams, cheerleader: Rasul Douglas ready for any role

    Of the 45 players at Eagles rookie camp this weekend, perhaps no one is more important to the 2017 season than cornerback Rasul Douglas. Based on the team's depth at his position, Douglas could play a lot as a rookie. He could even start. 

    But the third-round pick claims he doesn't care what his role is. 

    "Whatever. Even if it's special teams, cheerleader," Douglas said by his locker Friday afternoon. 

    "It doesn't matter. Whatever they need me to play. They give me an opportunity to play there, I'm definitely going to take it." 

    The Eagles can probably leave the pom-poms to the trained professionals on the sideline. They're gonna need Douglas on the football field. 

    While Douglas was a very late third-round pick (No. 99 overall), the guys in front of him don't exactly instill confidence: Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks, Patrick Robinson and C.J. Smith are the frontrunners to compete for playing time. So if Douglas is able to show something throughout the spring and summer, he very well could become a starter. 

    "I think the biggest thing with him is picking up the terminology and the scheme," head coach Doug Pederson said. "We know what he can do on the football field. He's long, he's aggressive, he has great ball skills. We know that part about him, so it's just a matter of transitioning over and understanding the defensive terminology. 

    "Listen, guys that come in like that, guys that you can plug in and get a lot of reps early, this is a beneficial camp for him. It's just him and the coaches for three days. It will be a great learning [experience] and a great learning process for him going forward."

    So what can Douglas really show this weekend? After all, it's just a three-day camp in shorts. And for Douglas (6-2, 209), playing tough at the line of scrimmage is a big part of his game. He's not able to do that this weekend. 

    Still, he showed up ready for work Friday. 

    "This weekend means a lot to me," he said. "I want to show them I can play ball, of course. I think they already have a little idea. I think that's why they drafted me, but I just want to show them I can play ball."

    Douglas, who once struggled so much financially he had to ration McDonald's dollar menu items, signed his rookie contract Thursday. It was a special moment for the East Orange, New Jersey, native. 

    Another special moment happened for Douglas on Thursday morning. About five minutes before he needed to be on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex, he walked out of the building to soak it all in. Just a few return men were fielding punts as Douglas took a moment for himself. 

    "Like 'I'm in the NFL,'" Douglas said. "Now, it's time for me to play football."

    What the Eagles' rookies are doing this weekend doesn't really look like football, though. They're in shorts and helmets as they work on technique, try to learn the playbook and familiarize themselves with new terminology. 

    But in a couple weeks, Douglas will get a chance to line up across the line against, among others, Alshon Jeffery. 

    "I'm definitely looking forward to it a lot," Douglas said after his eyes lit up upon hearing Jeffery's name. "You want to just compete against the best guys."

    If Douglas plays as a rookie, he'll see plenty of the best guys in the league throughout the season: Odell Beckham Jr., Dez Bryant, Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Marshall.  

    Over the next few months, the Eagles will hope to learn he's ready for the challenge.