Philadelphia Eagles: Shepherd, Evans Not In Kansas Anymore
After trading out of the fourth round in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly made their first two selections on day three of the draft in the sixth round. Kelly chose to “double dip” at cornerback by selecting Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd and Kansas State cornerback Randall Evans. But they will quickly realize they’re not in Kansas anymore.
Following these two selections, the Eagles have spent three of their five draft picks this year on defensive backs. Shepherd and Evans join second round pick Eric Rowe in a draft class that should bring some much needed competition to the Eagles’ secondary. It was clear that group needed to be completely overhauled following their awful performance during the 2014 regular season.
Shepherd is a bit on the smaller side, as far as what the Eagles usually look for at cornerback, at just 5’11”, 199 lbs. with 30 5/8″ arms. But he’s a former wide receiver that made the transition to cornerback during his sophmore year and stayed at the position ever since. That explains why Shepherd has such terrific ball skills and he led the Big 12 conference in passes defensed in 2014 with 19.
Over his final two seasons in Kansas, as a starting cornerback, Shepherd totaled 32 passes defensed and 5 interceptions. One last thing, during his freshman year, he had a 100 yard receiving game as a wide receiver, that’s unbelievable. As far as his draft projection goes, he was projected to go early on day three according to multiple experts so the Eagles getting him in the sixth round not only filled a need, but provided good value as well.
There are a couple of big fans of the Eagles picking Shepherd, including former West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett:
The Eagles did show significant interest in Evans during the pre-draft process, even bringing him to the NovaCare Complex for a pre-draft visit, according to Mike Kaye of Bleeding Green Nation. Evans played multiple positions at Kansas State including cornerback, both in the slot and outside, as well as safety. At 6’0″, 190 lbs., Evans fits the bill as far as what the Eagles look for at a size standpoint as well. But his versatility is likely what stood out to the Eagles the most though.
Both Evans and Shepherd are both high character players which also checks off another box the Eagles have on their checklist. It’s easy to see why the Eagles were interested in both of these players. They both offered great value at this point in the draft and fill needs in their defensive backfield. An added plus to Shepherd’s game is that he also has experience as a kick returner, just another notch on his belt.
The Eagles and Kelly have one pick remaining in the 2015 NFL Draft, 237th overall in the 7th round. It’ll also be interesting to see which undrafted free agents the team may sign as well. They could look to add some depth along the offensive line and a developmental quarterback like Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett, Cody Fajardo or Blake Sims as well.
Be sure to check back here at Inside The Iggles for all of the latest regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and the remainder of the 2015 NFL Draft!
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