The Eagles on Saturday activated cornerback Sidney Jones from the reserve-non football injury, clearing the way for the rookie second-round pick from Washington to make his NFL debut Sunday against the Cowboys at the Linc.
On Friday, the Eagles placed linebacker Joe Walker on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for Jones (see story).
Jones, who suffered a torn Achilles during his pro day at the University of Washington in March, has been on the reserve/NFI list all season. He began practicing earlier this month, which started a three-week window ending Tuesday, after which the Eagles had to either add him to the 53-man roster or placed him on IR.
“It’s been a long journey," Jones said back Dec. 13. "I’ve had a great support system around me, everybody’s been helping me, telling me this, telling me that.
"A few guys I reached out to or reached out to me and gave me advice, people who’d hurt their Achilles before. Jason Peters helped me out a lot, Jordan Hicks helped me out a lot as well. Everybody’s been supportive."
Jones, the 43rd player taken in this year’s draft, has not played since Washington’s bowl game — a loss to No. 1 Alabama in the Peach Bowl, which was also a College Football Playoff Semifinal, Dec. 31, 2016, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Eagles-Cowboys game is exactly one year later.
It’s been just about nine months since his surgery. Jones was initially projected as a first-round pick, but the Eagles selected him knowing they wouldn’t have him for most of the season. The last cornerback the Eagles drafted as high as they drafted Jones was first-round pick Lito Sheppard, the 26th pick in 2002.
”I think we'll see pretty quickly that he has a good grasp of what he's expected to do," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "Keeping his ears open and his eyes open has been his No. 1 job description over these last six months.
"I've been really proud of what he's done there. I would be very surprised if he can't go in and execute what we're asking him to do."
With Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Ronald Darby, the Eagles have four cornerbacks 23 or younger under contract through at least next year.