The Eagles appear to be collecting undersized cornerbacks.
The team acquired corner Josiah Scott in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, sending a 2023 sixth-round pick and cornerback Jameson Houston to the Jags.
Scott, 22, was a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State in last year’s NFL draft, but got buried on the Jaguars’ depth chart last season. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, he projects almost exclusively as a slot corner even though the Eagles have a more pressing need on the outside.
Roughly 13 months ago, Scott was considered one of the best slot cornerback prospects in the draft. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, started 30 games for the Spartans, and had been a member of the 2017 freshman All-American team. He suffered a knee injury in 2018 and struggled to return to his promising form the next season, although he was still a good player.
“Scott quietly offers one of the most impressive career profiles of anyone in this draft class,” Pro Football Focus wrote about Scott last year. “As a true freshman, he was locking down his side of the field for the Michigan State defense. Of his few losses down the football field, almost all are the result of losing at the catch point. While that’s obviously going to be an issue for him at his size, it’s far more variable [than] the whole being in tight coverage part. Scott has elite quicks and feel for the cornerback position. Those are all the makings of a top slot corner in the NFL.”
It’s a bit concerning that he couldn’t get on the field for a basement-dwelling Jaguars team last year, but it’s difficult to know what kept him sidelined. He played only 7% of the Jags’ defensive snaps and didn’t play on special teams.
Houston, 24, joined the Eagles practice squad in December after signing with the Cleveland Browns last offseason as an undrafted free agent. He played four seasons with Baylor before last year’s draft.
By adding Scott, the Eagles are stockpiling corners without the prototypical length to play on the outside. There’s a chance they took Zech McPhearson in the fourth round of last month’s draft with the intention of playing him opposite Darius Slay right away. But even he played both inside and outside in college.
Even if they think McPhearson’s 5-11, 195-pound frame can hold up outside, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be ready to start Week 1. If not, Avonte Maddox will get another chance at the CB2 job. Maddox, who is 5-9 with short arms, struggled on the outside last year after playing primarily in the slot or at safety in the first two years of his career.
The Eagles also announced they’ve signed offensive tackle Casey Tucker. Tucker, 25, was one of the rookie minicamp tryouts last weekend and once again made the training-camp roster. He also made that roster as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and has bounced around a few teams’ practice squads.