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Darius Slay brings serious swag to the defense

Cornerbacks Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman both entered the NFL in 2013 but have walked very different paths on their way to Philadelphia in 2020.

Slay was a highly touted second-round pick for the Detroit Lions that lived up to his billing by being selected to three Pro Bowls, making him widely considered one of the league's top cornerbacks.

On the other hand, Robey-Coleman went undrafted and is now on his third team despite being known as one of the top slot corners in the league.

But now, they both have the same task of building chemistry with their new teammates within the Eagles' secondary, which has seen a slight change in tenor with the departure of its vocal leader, Malcolm Jenkins.

At the comfy confines of the NovaCare Complex, Slay, Robey-Coleman, and the rest of the defensive backs are grinding away on the field with the hopes of having a foundation laid in time for the season opener on September 13, which will be the true litmus test of whether their work has paid off.

Off the field, however, the construction of the group's chemistry has already been completed.

After a virtual offseason and a month of Training Camp, there already has been plenty of bonding, laughter, and creative handshakes. Oh, and swagger, and there is plenty of it to go around.

"It's been just cool getting to know the guys more. Getting to know what people are like. We're just coming together. We're doing everything as one," Robey-Coleman told reporters Monday.

The early leader in the swag clubhouse is probably Slay, who proudly proclaimed Monday that he has copious amounts of it, and it now permeates throughout the secondary.

"I do bring that energy," said the cornerback whose nickname is Big Play Slay. "I'm very confident. I'm very, very consistent and that's what makes me a great player, because I've been consistent."

Slay attributes the Eagles' atmosphere for allowing him to showcase his abundance of swag. To him, the defensive backs have the freedom to be themselves, and they have taken full advantage so far in camp.

"It's a lot of swagger in the room," cornerback Cre' Von LeBlanc said Sunday.

The defensive backs have forged this camaraderie in a variety of ways. It's been things like Slay's wife making banana pudding for the group, which received rave reviews from Robey-Coleman, to the elaborate and precise handshakes seemingly all of them have.

LeBlanc already has multiple handshakes with his teammates from past seasons like Avonte Maddox and already has one with Robey-Coleman he has dubbed "gravedigger." Slay has yet to get in on the handshake party, but vows that it'll be worth paying attention when he does.

"It's coming soon, though," Slay said. "When it comes, everybody is going to see it because it's going to be swaggy."

Slay admitted he can be very goofy at times, but he knows when to get serious when the time calls for it. And when it comes to the practice field or the meeting room, the joking ceases and the effort to help achieve greatness commences. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

"We have a great group," Maddox recently told reporters. "We're always working to help each other get better."

To Maddox's point, Robey-Coleman and LeBlanc routinely work with each other after practice to sharpen each other's skills, although they are competing to become the starting slot corner.

"We're taking advantage of not only the reps we get out on the practice field, the walkthroughs, and so far, so good," safety Rodney McLeod recently told reports. "I like the way we're jelling, man."

Time will tell whether the Eagles' secondary can truly come together on the field, but if Training Camp is any indication, Sundays could feature plenty of big plays and a whole lot of swagger along with them.

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