The Philadelphia Eagles are making some changes to their secondary personnel. According to an official announcement from the team, the Eagles claimed cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc via waivers. The Eagles waived Dexter McDougle in order to make room for LeBlanc on the 53-man roster.
LeBlanc is a 24-year-old defensive back who originally signed with the Patriots after going undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2016. New England waived LeBlanc during final cuts and the Bears picked him up by putting a waiver claim on him. LeBlanc remained with Chicago through 2017, making 10 starts in 28 games played. He logged 52 tackles, two interceptions, two quarterback hits, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, and one defensive touchdown during that span.
The Bears cut LeBlanc during final roster cuts back in September. He then signed to the Lions practice squad and spent a month there before being called up to Detroit’s main roster. After appearing in three games, LeBlanc was waived by the Lions.
And so now LeBlanc find himself in Philadelphia. He might have an opportunity for immediate playing time in the slot now with McDougle gone. Sidney Jones is the Eagles’ starting nickel corner when healthy but he’s been dealing with a “week-to-week” hamstring injury and it’s unclear when he’ll return. The fact that the Eagles claimed LeBlanc and signed De’Vante Bausby, who also has slot experience, to their practice squad earlier today doesn’t seem to bode well for a quick Jones return.
McDougle’s second stint with the Eagles certainly didn’t last long. He only ended up playing in two games for Philly. He sure did play often, though. McDougle handled 81.4% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in Week 7 before seeing that figure increase to 90.6% against the Jaguars in Week 8. McDougle’s struggles against Jacksonville clearly landed him on the chopping block.
Is LeBlanc a better option than McDougle? Well, the Eagles seem to think so. And LeBlanc has a pretty cool name, so that’s good.
More importantly, LeBlanc showed some promise as a rookie in 2016. Per Pro Football Focus:
He finished eighth among 52 eligible slot corners by allowing just 0.81 yards per coverage snap. In the slot, LeBlanc was also first in terms of coverage snaps per target with a mark of 8.6, and second among the 52 corners by playing 14.7 coverage snaps per reception allowed. LeBlanc also produced as a pass-rusher in limited usage. On 15 pass-rushing snaps, he produced seven total pressures, which led all corners in pass-rushing productivity. His success wasn’t just limited to the slot, as LeBlanc’s passer rating against of 82.7 was 32nd out of 119 eligible cornerbacks, and second among rookie corners.
LeBlanc’s performance against the Eagles in 2017 was his highest grade of the season. Despite being targeted eight times in that game, he only allowed five receptions for 35 yards. Carson Wentz had a 72.4 passer rating when throwing his way.
McDougle clearly wasn’t cutting it for the Eagles so LeBlanc is at least worth a look. Maybe he can help hold the fort down until Jones can return.