Following an MRI Monday morning, rookie cornerback JaCorey Shepherd was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee. Shepherd, a sixth-round pick in this year's NFL Draft, had been competing to replace Brandon Boykin as the team's primary nickel cornerback.
Shepherd suffered the injury during Sunday's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field after colliding with running back Darren Sproles.
A Kansas product, the 5-11, 199-pound Shepherd impressed during the spring enough to warrant a look with the first-team defense. The 22-year-old originally entered college as a wide receiver before transitioning to cornerback, where he finished his Jayhawk career with 90 tackles, five interceptions and 37 passes defensed. Shepherd earned first-team All-Big 12 honors during his senior season.
"He's explosive," head coach Chip Kelly said of Shepherd following the team's trade of Brandon Boykin. "He's got great ball skills. He's really quick in and out of cuts. He seems like he has a real knack for being around the ball all the time. … He shows up a lot when you turn the tape on."
With Shepherd likely lost for the season, the Eagles still have several options to man the nickel spot. Safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond have both been standout nickels during their career while younger players like Jaylen Watkins, E.J. Biggers and Randall Evans have each taken reps inside during Training Camp. Cornerback Nolan Carroll is also an experienced option.