Eagles

Eagles Mailbag: Sidney Jones, Jay Ajayi, early-round RBs

I’ll be in Phoenix next week for the owners meetings, where we’ll hear from the Eagles’ brass for the first time after all of their moves this offseason. 

But until then, you guys had plenty of questions. 

As always, we got too many for one mailbag, so we split them up. Here’s the first batch: 

I don’t think so. I understand the the cornerback room is crowded, especially after the Eagles brought back Ronald Darby. They have Darby, Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc. But Jones is the one I definitely wouldn’t trade. I know his first real season in the NFL didn’t go as planned, but he was pretty much a rookie last year and he got hurt. I’m nowhere near ready to give up on Jones. There’s a reason he was a first-round talent, and there’s a reason the Eagles still drafted him in the second round in 2017 despite the Achilles tear. 

And you have to remember this: Jones is entering his third NFL season, but he’s still just 22 and he has a modest cap hit of $1.67 million in 2019. Even next year, he still counts less than $2 million toward the cap. The Eagles owe it to themselves and Jones to find out if he can live up to his potential.  

Good question, but one that’s hard to answer until we actually have a better sense of who will be on the roster. The Eagles are in better shape when it comes to kick returners. They can have Wendell Smallwood or Corey Clement do it. Even Nelson Agholor can be an emergency kick returner. 

Punt returner? That’s a little trickier. The only guy on the team who returned last year with any regularity was Clement and he wasn’t very good at it. In big moments, DeSean Jackson can be the punt returner, but he hasn’t been an every-time returner in a few years. Maybe Nelly can do it; maybe Braxton Miller if he’s on the roster. There’s also a chance the Eagles’ 2019 punt returner isn’t on the roster yet. 

He’s rehabbing from that ACL injury. He reportedly had a visit set up with the Colts and head coach Frank Reich. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Eagles bring him back on a cheap deal. I don’t think teams are going to line up to break the bank for him. There were already serious concerns about Ajayi’s knees before the ACL injury. He is a good fit in the locker room and the Eagles should have inside knowledge of his recovery. If the Eagles want to bring him back and then draft a running back to complement him, that’s not a terrible option. Which brings us to this … 

I do. I really do. The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first or second round since LeSean McCoy since 2009, so their recent history says they won’t. But I think this is the year to buck that trend. I’m not sold on the idea of them taking one at 25, but with two second-round picks (53 and 57), things are lining up nicely for them to take one of the running backs who will be second-round picks. I have my eye on Miles Sanders from Penn State or David Montgomery from Iowa State. I think either one would be exactly what the Eagles need. 

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