Is There a Silver Lining to Darby Injury?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Another day, another hit for the reeling Philadelphia Eagles.
Coach Doug Pederson revealed Monday that cornerback Ronald Darby tore his ACL during a 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday night and will miss the rest of the season.
Darby is just the latest loss for a secondary that is also without safety Rodney McLeod (knee) for the season and was sown starting cornerbacks Jalen Mills (foot) and Sidney Jones (hamstring) against the Cowboys.
Although losing your best corner can never be spun in a positive fashion the potential silver lining for the Eagles is that Daby's absence could open up an outside spot for Jones, the talented second-year player who hopes to return to the lineup in New Orleans this week.
Pederson mentioned Jones as the top option to replace Darby whenever he returns to the lineup.
Although an outside CB in college at the University of Washington, Jones was inserted into the nickel spot in order to get him on the field this season. Jones was graded as a top-15 talent in the 2017 NFL Draft before tearing his Achilles' at his pro day and falling to the second round where Philadelphia decided the risk was worth the reward and essentially redshirted him during his rookie season.
Jones and Jalen Mills will likely be the top two outside CBs now when healthy and Jim Schwartz could go a number of ways with the nickel spot, perhaps shifting Jones inside in those situations while inserting Rasul Douglas on the outside or keeping Jones outside and sliding Avonte Maddox from safety in the base defense down to the slot.
It's also conceivable that veteran Corey Graham will handle the high-safety role with Tre Sullivan and Maddox becomes the full-time slot corner.
The recently signed Cre'Von LeBlanc and undrafted rookie Chandon Sullivan are also in the mix at corner while Pederson mentioned that practice-squad player De'Vante Bausby could be looked at for a promotion.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen