I remember shooting video of Daryl Worley during his high school days at William Penn Charter School. It was something like 2011 or 2012, and I recall rolling up to their field during a series in which the Quakers were on defense. One kid looked bigger, faster, and stronger than the rest, by a country mile.
“He’s got a bunch of college offers,” said a random guy who was standing next to me, a school employee I think.
That was Worley, a 6’1″, 185 pound two-way player who was a great receiver but a better safety, ranked as the region’s top defensive back coming out of high school a little more than five years ago.
He was on vacation in the Bahamas when he found out that he’d been traded to his hometown team, news that he says gave him as much joy, maybe more, than the day he was drafted in the third round by the Carolina Panthers.
“I actually didn’t get a call from anyone,” Worley told Philadelphia media during his introductory press conference. “My agent was trying to reach out to me but he was on a flight. We were actually on a little boat cruise so my phone wasn’t getting service. Then we pulled up to the port and my phone just lit up. I read the text messages and I thought people were joking – ‘you’re an Eagle now.’ I’m like, ‘what? what are you guys talking about?’ But it was fun and very ecstatic.”
The Eagles traded wide receiver Torrey Smith for the 23-year-old North Philly native, a guy who spent his formative years watching the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and his favorite Eagle, Terrell Owens.
“I was a huge Eagles fan coming up,” he said. “I grew up on Broad and Erie, near Temple Hospital. So the Eagles was all that I knew for a long time, especially when it came to football.”
Worley was actually recruited to West Virginia to play receiver but found himself on what he called a “stacked” roster and quickly transitioned to the secondary instead, where he excelled in Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 scheme, playing alongside future NFL draft picks in Karl Joseph and current Eagle Rasul Douglas. He also shared the field with Birds running back Wendell Smallwood and was a roommate with receiver Shelton Gibson.
As far as his role heading into next season, Worley said he hasn’t had the ability to speak with the coaching staff about scheme or fit just yet, but didn’t seem concerned about it.
“It doesn’t matter to me at all,” he explained. “If I had the chance to be out there on the field at all, being able to just compete and play, I’m happy enough with that.
“Most of my time in Carolina, I played on the outside, just being able to be on the outside corner. I didn’t do much nickel or inside play, not because of ability or anything like that, it was more just, that’s how things were schemed up during my time there.”
Worley isn’t the quickest guy and tends to play with a bit of a cushion on the outside. He’s not going to smother receivers to the point of submission, but he’s a solid tackler and has good on-ball instincts.
“If I was to look and study my film, which I do a lot of, off-man right now I would say is my strong suit, maybe simply because of what I’ve done in college and things like that, but I’m always trying to work on other aspects of my game,” he said. “Last year I thought things were a bit inconsistent when it came to my play. But as the season went on I was able to make more plays and change some things down the stretch. Whether that came from competition or any other thing like that, it ended up working out for the better.”
Worley will be one of five young corners competing for snaps next year, a group that looks like this:
- Jalen Mills – 23 years old
- Ronald Darby – 24 years old
- Rasul Douglas – 23 years old
- Sidney Jones – 21 years old
- Daryl Worley – 23 years old
If the season began today, you’d need a slot corner to replace the departed Patrick Robinson, a position of intrigue heading into the summer. We’ll see how it shakes out.
Watch Worley’s first media availability here:
Tune in now as cornerback Daryl Worley meets with the media. https://t.co/q5b07AIF08
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 19, 2018