Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Jacquet should get a promotion this season

Michael Jacquet III Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Jacquet III Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Michael Jacquet should get a chance with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020.

Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin, and Ronald Darby. Those are just a few of the guys that the Philadelphia Eagles‘ fans have unfortunately watched at cornerback over the past decade. Now, they finally have a legitimate lockdown number one corner in Darius Slay, but that other outside spot is still a glaring issue.

Avonte Maddox has some experience and is expected to start in Week 8 versus the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s evident that he should be moved back to nickel corner or safety. Nickell Robey-Coleman spent some time on the outside during the past few weeks, but it wasn’t pretty, to say the least. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz also moved Jalen Mills to that spot at one point and it wasn’t any different from his performances there over the course of the past few years. Plus, Mills is needed at the safety position, not at the cornerback position.

Before Week 1, Eagles general manager and vice president Howie Roseman cut both Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones as the ‘Birds’ stuck with Craig James as the lone backup on the outside. Arguments can be made about which of those three should’ve stayed, but what’s more concerning is Roseman only kept one backup and that backup, James, suffered another injury versus the Giants last week.

It’s safe to say that there’s a need for an outside corner on this roster and with the 2021 cap hit, blockbuster trades and the Eagles being active during the 2021 free agency period might not be realistic options.

It’s no secret that the Eagles’ backups and practice squad players have stepped up over the course of the past couple of seasons. That reflects on the coaching staff and front office when those players outperform the veterans who were brought in on big contracts to help this team contend. With that being said, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise at this point if one of the defensive backs on the practice squad ended up being a diamond in the rough. Enter Michael Jacquet.

Is Jacquet the next diamond in the rough for the Philadelphia Eagles?

Jacquet was one of the Eagles’ highest-paid undrafted free agents this past Spring. He was a high school quarterback and then started his career at Louisiana-Lafayette as a wide receiver before making the transition to defense. Not only did he play at the outside corner spot but he also played in the slot and at safety. As Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation said, “he can do whatever’s asked of him”, an admirable quality in a young player.

Not to mention, the future of the secondary is uncertain. LeBlanc, Robey-Coleman, and Will Parks are on one-year deals. Mills is still a project at safety and is also on a one-year deal. Rodney McLeod is only on a two-year deal and Avonte Maddox has just two years left on his rookie contract. Philly could use a versatile player who can move around the formation. They lost that with the departure of Malcolm Jenkins last offseason.

Since Jacquet recently made the switch to the cornerback position, he doesn’t have a ton of experience but the results were still encouraging. Notably, he played pretty well against Alabama, a school that has churned out wide receiver prospects left and right like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs.

Jacquet’s biggest strength is the fact that he’s physical.  He excels at jamming receivers in press coverage, but he can also run stride for stride with them downfield. It would be refreshing for Eagles fans to see that after watching so many cornerbacks in midnight green giving cushion at the line of scrimmage. Jacquet’s technique needs some work since, as mentioned earlier, he has a small sample size. That can easily improve with plenty of practice and some playing time though.

Last but not least, he also possesses great size for the position standing at six-foot-one and weighing 203 pounds while still getting up the field quickly. He was used as a gunner on special teams in college so he has some wheels. What was pointed out the most during the draft process was Jacquet’s 82 1/8 inch wingspan. That is unheard of. The technique has to catch up with the measurables but if they do, the 23-year-old could be a star. To be honest, the technique isn’t bad either.

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Some more time on the practice squad might be needed but Jacquet needs to be elevated for at least a game or two and play significant snaps. When Grayland Arnold and Elijah Riley were elevated they played more at safety so maybe Jacquet can be the corner Philly needs. Even if he plays poorly, it will be good for him to get experience and learn from his mistakes.