Eagles Expecting Secondary to be Challenged by Chiefs
The Eagles lost their top cornerback during their Week 1 win over the Redskins, when Ronald Darby was lost for 4-6 weeks with a dislocated ankle.
One of the guys that will be counted on in his absence will be Jaylen Watkins, who will be making the move from safety back to corner.
While he played both corner and safety in college, he played 387 defensive snaps in 2016, mostly as a safety.
"He has also has played some nickel for us in the past, in practice and stuff like that," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said.
When Darby went down with injury on Sunday, it was Watkins, a 2014 fourth round pick, who ending up getting the call to play some corner, after spending most of his NFL career playing safety.
"I can't go without mentioning the contribution Jaylen Watkins made to that game because there was a personnel package to replace Darby," Schwartz said.
"We would have had to move three different guys, and rather than doing that, we just plugged Jaylen in, and for the whole second half all he did was go out there and execute his job and made a big play."
Watkins finished with three tackles -- all solo -- while playing 24 percent (15 of 62) of the Eagles' snaps against the Redskins.
This week against in Kansas City, the Eagles know their secondary - and Watkins, will be tested by a talented and explosive Chiefs offensive.
"Those guys are always going to give you problems," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. "They are tough to defend, speed guys, quick, shifty guys. As we look at it, if Rasul is in there, if [CB] Jalen [Mills] is in there, [S Jaylen] Watkins is in there, try to keep Patrick Robinson possibly at the nickel spot as much as we can -- I think it's beneficial for guys to learn one spot, and he's been comfortable in there."
Watkins brings good speed to the position, with 4.41 speed, meaning the Eagles could turn to him to run with Tyreek Hill on the outside. With experience at corner, safety and in the slot the Eagles most likely will go with more of Watkins than Douglas for now.