Rookie cornerback JaCorey Shepherd tore his ACL over the weekend, the Eagles have confirmed, and now the team is suddenly scrambling to decide who will play the slot corner position. On Sunday, Shepherd was carted off the practice field with what looked like a bad injury. Watkins was the first man up at nickel cornerback after Shepherd left practice early on Sunday.
It’s a big blow for an Eagles team that just traded its starting nickelback, Brandon Boykin, to the Steelers last week. It was reinforced in the spring, and coach Chip Kelly touted the team’s depth as a reason why they shipped Boykin to Pittsburgh.
For now, that leaves Watkins and E.J. Biggers, a free agent signed after spending the past two seasons with the Washington Redskins, as the two main nickel corners on the roster, although both Thurmond and Jenkins could play there, too.
Shepherd collapsed to the ground – Sproles remembered him “hollering” – and he could stand on his own power. He has started 31 games in his career, and has four interceptions.
“We had to have somebody take the first practice snaps at nickel”, he said. Evans was a sixth-round pick who played slot cornerback at Kansas State. Nolan Carroll could move into the slot and rookie Eric Rowe could go outside.
The Eagles will now have to figure out how to go forward in the slot. The Eagles want him on the outside, and that’s where he’ll stay.
But the Eagles believe they have strong options to step into Boykin’s old spot.