On the eve of the first training session of this year's Training Camp, the Eagles traded cornerback Brandon Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2016.
Boykin was the Eagles' primary slot cornerback in each of his first three seasons in the league. His best season came in 2013 when he finished tied for second in the league with six interceptions, including the one to seal the win over Dallas to clinch the NFC East division title.
The immediate question that the Eagles must answer is who will replace Boykin's role as the slot cornerback. He played in 43 percent of the team's defensive snaps last season, which was a career low but still an important amount. Dave Spadaro offered this interesting nugget.
The Eagles drafted three defensive backs this year. Second-round pick Eric Rowe has exclusively worked on the outside while the aforementioned Shepherd, a sixth-round pick, and Randall Evans, another sixth-round pick, have nickel experience from college.
If the Eagles go the veteran route, E.J. Biggers, Nolan Carroll and Walter Thurmond have slot experience. Carroll, however, is in the mix to start on the outside, while Thurmond is the front-runner to start at safety. The Eagles also have second-year defensive back Jaylen Watkins, who can play both corner and safety. Head coach Chip Kelly will explain the move at his 11:20 AM press conference Sunday which you can watch live online or on our app.
Boykin was entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Eagles now have eight picks in next year's NFL Draft with two picks in the third round and two in the fifth round.