Despite signing multiple defensive backs in NFL free agency this offseason, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is on record for saying Philadelphia still wants to address the secondary. It makes sense, then, that the Eagles are reportedly hosting Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones on a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia.
Jones measures in at 5-10, 197 pounds. He started his college football career with the Crimson Tide as a wide receiver. After recording four receptions for 51 yards as a freshman, Jones switched to cornerback. He finished his Alabama career with seven interceptions and one defensive touchdown. Jones also contributes on special teams. He gained 530 yards and scored four touchdowns on 42 punt returns in 2015.
CBS Sports projects Jones to be a third or fourth round pick. The Eagles could be looking at him to be their slot cornerback and eventual replacement for elite NFL punt returner Darren Sproles.
There are some character concerns with Jones. He was arrested on domestic violence charges in August 2015. Those chargers were later dropped.
Here's a scouting report via NFL.com:
"Strengths - Press corner with good build and strong lower half. Plus play strength. Confident and tough. Able to reroute and maintain positioning on receivers. From off coverage waits as long as he can before opening hips to turn and run. Willing to mix it up and likes to test receivers early in the game in an attempt to intimidate them. Plays receivers physically when they try to block him and is excellent in run support. Diligent in run contain duties. Scouts say he is well liked in the locker room and has some edge. Excellent return man. Blistered coverage units with four punt return touchdowns this year. Nicknamed "Clamp Clampington".
Weaknesses - Doesn't check the height or length boxes teams want from outside cornerbacks. Run game awareness wanes when matched up in press coverage. Can be run up and off of run support. Not able to run with pure man-cover speed. Allows receivers to uncover at the top of their routes and doesnt have desired recovery quickness. Plays with average balance. Inconsistent finding ball in man coverage. Needs better awareness of receivers behind him in zone coverage. Big receivers can go up and over him in the red zone.
Bottom Line - Has been a press corner who is comfortable in man coverage, but he will likely become a nickel cornerback who may be fitted to plenty of Tampa-2 coverage due to lack of speed. His ability to support against the run from the slot and return kicks could help drive his stock up beyond his actual cover abilities."