MRI Reveals Torn ACL For JaCorey Shepherd

JaCorey Shepherd (Jeff Fusco)

JaCorey Shepherd (Jeff Fusco)

An MRI Monday morning revealed that rookie cornerback JaCorey Shepherd tore the ACL in his right knee.

Shepherd collided with Darren Sproles on the far sideline during practice at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday after the running back made a catch and turned up field. He stayed down after the play and was attended to by the Eagles training staff before gingerly walking to a nearby cart that took him back to the training room.

“We were on the sideline, then I kind of braced myself and I heard him hollering,” Sproles said. “But I don’t know what happened…I don’t know if his foot got caught, or what.”

The sixth-round pick out of Kansas was competing for the nickel spot — a job that opened when Brandon Boykin was dealt to Pittsburgh for a conditional fifth-round pick. Jaylen Watkins was working with the first team Sunday. E.J. Biggers has been rotating in with the ones as well. They will be two of the top candidates to fill the role.

“We’re going to run everyone through there, to be honest with you,” Chip Kelly said prior to the injury. “We have so many training sessions between now and when we play against the Falcons, we’ll get enough reps [to determine] who will be the nickel at that time, there’s a lot of candidates. [Walter Thurmond] will stay at safety right now, you won’t see him at nickel. JaCorey Shepherd will be in there, you’ll see [Jaylen] Watkins in there, E.J. Biggers has played in there so we’ll mix and match and try to get as many reps as we possibly can for those guys.”

Faith in the young defensive back corps — a group that includes Watkins, Eric Rowe, Denzel Rice, Randall Evans and of course Shepherd — factored into the team’s decision to part ways with Boykin. Shepherd was considered by some to be the favorite to assume Boykin’s role. Now that he’s down, Kelly will need someone else to answer the call.