Since the date of September 1, when the Eagles reduced their roster from 90 players to 53 after Training Camp and the preseason, cornerback Sidney Jones has been on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List and has not been eligible to participate in any practice situations for the Eagles. Starting on October 17, that can change if the Eagles believe the second-round draft pick is ready to return to the field.
After suffering a torn Achilles tendon in March during his Pro Day at the University of Washington as he prepared for the NFL Draft, Jones – considered a sure-thing first-round draft pick and potentially a top 10-15 pick before the injury – was still on the board when the Eagles selected in the second round.
And with the 43rd pick, the Eagles selected Jones and then said they would be “patient” as he rehabbed the injury.
They’ve been patient, and Jones has been silently making progress. Head coach Doug Pederson has said only that Jones is making steady strides as he works out to recover from the injury, but the team does not want to rush him back onto the field.
“He’s right on track, physically,” head coach Doug Pederson said recently. “But mainly continue his rehab with our training staff and our strength staff.”
Here is the official situation with Jones: Beginning on Tuesday, Jones can start a 21-day practice window and be elevated to the active roster at any time. If, after 21 days he is not elevated to the 53-man active list, he remains on the Reserve/Physically Unable To Perform list for the remainder of the season and can’t practice or play. The 21-day period can start at any point after October 17.
This is not to suggest that Jones, who has been running, is practicing anytime soon. The Eagles have given no indication that he is closing in on returning to the practice field. It’s just to provide an update on the very talented cornerback who, despite not practicing at any time since his injury, has attended meetings and been part of team activities including accompanying the team on road trips.
Cornerback has been a position of upheaval for the Eagles in the offseason and even through the first six weeks of the regular season. Only Jalen Mills, a starter, is among the six cornerbacks the Eagles have on the active roster (Mills, Ronald Darby, Patrick Robinson, Rasul Douglas, and Dexter McDougle) or practice squad (De’Vante Bausby and D.J. Killings). Darby was injured in the season-opening victory at Washington, suffering an ankle injury, and hasn’t played since.
“We’ve played well, coming together and pushing each other and making each other better,” said Mills, a seventh-round draft pick by the Eagles in 2016. “We’ve had a lot of change since last year. There’s always going to be competition.”
Could there be more if Jones is able to practice and is then added to the 53-man roster? Certainly, given that Jones was a four-year starter at Washington and an All-America in his senior season. But there are still significant hurdles to clear for Jones to make it into a game situation in his rookie campaign.