Eagles cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, a sixth-round draft pick from Kansas who was getting first-team practice reps in Philadelphia’s nickel package, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday. Shepherd had been playing well, but yesterday he collided with running back Darren Sproles near the end of the team’s open practice at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles introduced the damage after Shepherd had an MRI on the knee Monday morning.
The sixth-round pick out of Kansas was expected to help fill the cornerback slot, but his injury could keep him sidelined for the entire season. The Eagles surely regret trading away Brandon Boykin as Shepherd was the leading candidate to replace him in the slot. He was taken off the field on a cart. I don’t believe the loss of Shepherd is a devastating blow to the team, but it is important that they have someone serviceable at the position.
Watkins said he already realized he had an opportunity to play when Boykin was traded.
It was the rookies’ efficiency throughout OTAs and minicamp that satisfied Kelly and his employees that that they had sufficient depth to half with Boykin. With Shepherd out, the Eagles likely will look at second-year defensive back Jaylen Watkins and undrafted rookie Denzel Rice in the nickel. Over the course of his Jayhawk career, Shepherd racked up 90 tackles, five interceptions and 37 pass deflections.
Thurmond seems to have the inside track to start at safety opposite Malcolm Jenkins. Biggers has appeared in 76 games as a professional, including 31 starts. The question of whether Kelly should have made the Boykin trade will always linger, but the Eagles will have to move on, and fast, if they want to take the next step this season. I’m one of the better cover guys, in general, in the slot. The coaching staff was impressed with how quickly Shepherd had picked up the defense. It certainly is bad timing and something we’ll never know. “I thought it was good for me being at the nickel spot”.