Three Eagles underdogs who could emerge as CB2 candidates

NFL: NOV 01 Cowboys at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Michael Jacquet (38) looks on during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 1, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.(;ewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles navigated the NFL Draft very impressively, but did so without filling a key need on their roster. The team was starving for cornerback help, but not in the nickel where they decided to re-enforce. That leaves the Eagles without any viable options to play opposite Darius Slay...or does it?

Michael Jacquet

At 6’2, 201 lbs, Michael Jacquet is a former receiver with a wingspan of 82 1/8 inches – 4 longer than any other DB recorded at last year’s combine, along with 33.5 inch arms. Not only is he rangy, but he’s fast. Jacquet ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at his pro day and that speed constantly showed up on tape last year.

Through a barrage of injuries in the secondary, Jacquet ended up starting twice for the Eagles and playing in seven games altogether. In that time, he gave up 20 completions on 28 targets (71%) for 380 yards, 2 touchdowns and 137.5 rating. While the numbers aren’t exactly mindblowing, his starts came against Arizona and Dallas, who torched the Eagles for fun. That didn’t dent his confidence at all.

Michael Jacquet was seen early on giving DeAndre Hopkins some trouble at the line with a firm jam and it’s safe to say Kyler Murray wanted that matchup. Jacquet battled with everything he had, batting down a pair of passes while being used all over the defense.

He may not be perfect from a technical standpoint, but Jacquet is probably the corner with the most momentum going into training camp if we’re talking about a potential CB2.

Craig James

In 2019, Craig James went through a phase of looking as though he was going to be the next big underdog to breakout. He had some big moments on special teams and of course broke up that crucial Aaron Rodgers pass that landed in the hands of Nigel Bradham to seal a stunning win. He was unable to carry that momentum into 2020.

Injuries plagued James, who played just 15 defensive snaps for the Eagles last year. In 2019, he was targeted 9 times, giving up 5 completions (one of which for a TD) and amassed 15 tackles, playing in a total of 68 snaps.

James will want to rebound in a big way this year and will absolutely smell blood in the water. But at 5’10, 195 lbs, he may have a tough time proving his worth as a full-time outside corner and could instead perhaps be primed to battle Avonte Maddox inside as a backup nickel with Zech McPhearson while the next corner on this list steps up.

Kevon Seymour

Another strong late-season signing, Kevon Seymour was a sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills back in 2016. He stands at 6’0, 185 lbs, and brings a lot of speed to the table, having ran a 4.39 40-yard dash. Seymour plays much bigger than his frame, but coming out of College there was a lot of concern about his ball production.

After a bumpy start to his NFL career was filled with injuries, he eventually landed in Philadelphia where he was launched into the deep end right away. It didn’t take long for Seymour to get up to speed, literally. Not only was he able to cover guys like Emmanuel Sanders with relative ease, staying in hip pockets and gliding stride-for-stride, but he showed a sense of schematic knowledge that starters often lacked. 

Oddly, Seymour was probably the most comforting corner to watch outside of Darius Slay. He may have allowed 3 receptions on 4 targets through 2 games, but Seymour understood when/where safety help was, was able to close over the top of routes due to his speed, and was able to shade receivers inside extremely well.

He may not be at a starting level right now, but if we’re talking about someone who can go toe-to-toe with Michael Jacquet, this will be the player to circle as a real underdog with as much speed as he has upside.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire