Why the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Sidney Jones, who might not play in 2017
PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles drafted a player with a serious injury in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night, and vice president of football operations Howie Roseman offered an explanation that contained two key points.
First off, Philadelphia’s research suggested Sidney Jones is likely to make a full recovery from the torn Achilles he suffered at Washington’s Pro Day last month. And secondly, Roseman said, the Birds have had trouble finding long-term solutions at cornerback, and they feel Jones could be an answer.
Reports suggest Jones is in line to return to the field in October, but his 2017 outlook didn’t factor heavily into Philly’s decision to take him No. 43 overall, Roseman said.
In fact, Jones and Roseman both hinted Friday that they wouldn’t press for a return this season.
“I’m not going to rush back,” Jones said on a conference call.
But the Eagles are confident Jones, 20, will regain his burst and athleticism at some point. While evaluating the two-time all-Pac 12 corner, the team consulted with doctors and studied athletes — from football and other sports — who worked their way back from Achilles tears, Roseman said.
The findings were promising.
“Because of his age, it’s a very high percentage — coming back to 100 percent is a very high percentage,” Roseman said. “And that’s why we made the pick. For us, it had to be a very, very good chance that he would be exactly what he was before the injury.”
Roseman shot down the idea that the decision to pick Jones was a sign the Eagles would accept middling results this season Rather, he said the draft is always about the future, not filling immediate needs.
In any case, it’s clear the Eagles’ corners have struggled to produce consistent play over the past several seasons. Philadelphia developed a habit of signing veterans at the position who failed to pan out, sending the team into a spiral of inconsistency.
Jones, when healthy, is a first-round talent with potential to break the trend, Roseman said.
The hope is that Jones can spend the next several months repairing his injury — and then the next several years repairing the Eagles’ troubles in the secondary.
“Whatever the time table is with Sidney, when he gets back and he’s 100 percent, he makes a difference,” Roseman said. “He’s a difference-maker at the corner position, and for us, that’s something we’ve been looking for. And it’s hard to get that guy, period, let alone with the 43rd pick in the draft.”
Hear more from Roseman in the video below:
Philadelphia Eagles executives explain decision to draft Sidney Jones