“[...] Being able to get Sidney Jones last year and basically redshirting him and having him right now. We view that as a big part of our draft,” said Roseman during his post-draft press conference on Saturday evening. “In fact, in our draft room, on our draft board we view Sidney Jones as part of this.”
When Jones was selected with the No. 43 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, everyone knew he likely wasn’t going to have an impact in 2017. The potential first-round cornerback prospect had just torn his Achilles at Washington’s pro day in March. The Eagles were making this pick with the long-term in mind.
The 2017 season played out about as expected for Jones. He was mostly relegated to watching from the sidelines as his teammates practiced and played in games that led to an eventual Super Bowl victory. Along the way, the coaching staff kept him involved by quizzing him on film and having him travel with the team to road games.
The good news is that Jones didn’t have to be totally inactive during the 2017 season. He was able to return to practice on December 13. He participated in all nine practices over the next three weeks before actually being activated to the main roster and suiting up in an inconsequential Week 17 game against the Cowboys.
Against Dallas, Jones only played 29 snaps on defense (43%) and seven on special teams (35%). He got to face up against a veteran NFL wide receiver in Dez Bryant, which was a nice test.
It was difficult to draw much meaning out of Jones’ performance. There were times when it looked like he had good coverage. There was one play that stuck out where Jones got beat deep on a double move. Fortunately for him, Dak Prescott overthrew his wide open target.
Still, it was good for Jones to get some experience under his belt before entering the first true offseason of his career. Now he has an idea of what to expect.
On the flip side, it’s hard to know exactly to expect from Jones. We know that the 21-year-old corner has upside. He easily could have been the Eagles’ pick at No. 14 last year if he didn’t get hurt. That is, if he even made it to No. 14. Some draft analysts believed Jones would have been a top 10 pick in this year’s class.
It goes without saying that Jones will be monitored very closely in offseason practices. There will be pressure on him to live up to the hype.
My personal expectations for Jones are tempered. In addition to returning from football after a serious injury, corner can be a position where it takes time to adjust to the pro ranks. Then again, Marshon Lattimore and Tre’Davious White were able to make instant impacts last season.
I still want to see Jones show positive flashes in practice before I can fully buy in to the idea he’s going to be an instant difference maker. Don’t mistake this as me being down on Jones, because I’m not.
It’s just that he’s not even guaranteed a starting corner job on this current roster. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves Jalen Mills, who is super competitive and won’t let someone takeaway his job so easily. Ronald Darby also has a ton of motivation to keep his starting role since he’s entering a contract year. Perhaps Mills and Darby will start on the outside with Jones filling in for Mills if/when the Green Goblin shifts inside to play the slot
The fact that the Eagles have a number of talented corners is certainly a good problem to have. Especially when it used to be that the Eagles didn’t even have one worthwhile corner on the roster.
Jones could end up being a star. The Eagles have certainly talked up his potential to make you believe that’s the case. This offseason will mark the first time he has the chance to prove himself on the field. It could be fun to see how it plays out.
Which two Eagles cornerbacks will play the most snaps in 2018?
This poll is closed
Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby
Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones
Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones