Philadelphia Eagles cornerback JaCorey Shepherd has suffered an ACL tear in his right knee, according to an official release from the team. The rookie will likely miss the entire 2015 NFL season as he recovers from the injury.
Shepherd was carted off the field during Philadelphia's public training camp practice on Sunday, Aug. 9. A recap of the incident:
"The injury seemed to occur on a play where Darren Sproles ran into Shepherd along the sideline. The Eagles do not tackle to the ground in practice, but the rookie landed awkwardly after contact was made. It appeared Shepherd's right knee/leg was being worked on as he laid on the field."
Shepherd's injury is a significant loss for the Eagles. The rookie sixth round pick was favored to be the team's nickel cornerback after taking the majority of reps there this summer. Shepherd, who some believed was the steal of the 2015 NFL Draft, was playing very well prior to the injury.
With Shepherd out, the Eagles have to find a new answer in the slot. It doesn't help that the team traded away proven starting nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin earlier this month. Now it's up to the likes of 2014 draft pick Jaylen Watkins, veteran E.J. Biggers, and rookies Randall Evans and Denzel Rice to compete for the nickel job. Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond are occupied as the team's starting safeties but could play nickel in certain situations. Starting outside cornerback Byron Maxwell also has experience playing on the inside.
The Eagles have had two players go down to season-ending injuries since training camp began last week. First it was linebacker Travis Long and now it's Shepherd.