Sidney Jones has had an eventful career to say the least. He was a guaranteed first-round pick when he declared for the NFL draft, a torn Achilles at his pro day shattered that dream. Sidney fell all the way into the second round and right on to the lap of the Philadelphia Eagles for the 43rd overall pick.
Ironically the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl during Sidney’s rookie year. Jones was coming off the ultimate high but the expectations for him never changed. The Eagles have expected 1st-round production from Jones but it hasn’t shown yet. We’ve seen glimpses of it in the past, and most recently in the few games of 2019, but those flashes have been few and far between.
Jones had a huge pass deflection against the Cowboys as Prescott was hoping to rally his team back. The Cowboys’ QB launched a deep ball to Gallup in hope that the young wideout would beat out the cold bench corner. Fortunately for the Eagles, Jones finally came through with the biggest pass deflection of his career. The very next week, Jones came down with another big play, this time it was a pick off of a Daniel Jones throw to Darius Slayton late in the 4th quarter to help seal the NFC East title for the birds.
So where has this Sidney Jones been? Early in the season, there were notions that Eagles captain, safety, Malcolm Jenkins called out Jones. “This game’s not for suckers,” Jenkins said, “If you aren’t confident on the outside, then we can’t use you. Our defense is going to call for guys to be able to go outside and cover.”
Doug Pederson echoed a similar sentiment and then, out of nowhere, he wouldn’t see a single defensive snap for the next five weeks despite reportedly being healthy.
All of this came at a time where no one understood what was going on with Jones. The consistent injuries felt more like a cover for the lack of mental toughness the young corner had at the time. It was all a big mystery when it came to the former Washington product. Maybe it was a lack of preparation from both the player and the coaching staff? How could a talent like that just falter and end up behind the likes of players like Craig James and even Orlando Scandrick?
Maybe the hiring of the Marquand Manuel can help fix the issue. Jones will be a project for the Eagles new DB coach. A coach whose energy has been described as contagious and intense, and has even drawn comparisons to Brian Dawkins in his mentality and approach to the game. Sidney Jones will have a big opportunity to show off his true talent in year 4 with a new DB coach and maybe even a new veteran in the room to help him progress in the right direction. One way or another, the former second-round pick has a lot to prove and little time to do so.
The Eagles look set to lose both Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby to free agency, leaving glaring holes for starters on the outside, a role in which Jones actually filled for the first few weeks of the season along with Rasul Douglas. Have they seen enough from Jones to trust him full-time in that role? This is where the new DB coach comes in.
Manuel has got the best out of names like Isaiah Oliver and it’s clear that there is still a lot of potential left to harness in the case of Sidney Jones. Perhaps this is the lifeline that Jones needed after a rollercoaster season that saw his confidence rise, fall, and be built back to a level higher than ever.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports