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Eagles rookie CB JaCorey Shepherd has torn ACL, out for season

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, a sixth-round draft pick from Kansas who was getting first-team practice reps in Philadelphia's nickel package, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday.

The Eagles announced the injury after Shepherd had an MRI on the knee Monday morning. Shepherd is expected to miss the 2015 season after having surgery to repair the ligament.

The loss of Shepherd casts doubt on the Eagles' decision to trade nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin to Pittsburgh last week. Eagles coach Chip Kelly said the Steelers had made several offers for Boykin beginning during the weekend of the NFL draft. The Eagles resisted but took cornerbacks Shepherd, Eric Rowe and Randall Evans in the draft.

It was the rookies' performance during OTAs and minicamp that convinced Kelly and his staff that they had enough depth to part with Boykin. They received a fifth-round draft choice in 2016 that could become a fourth-round pick based on playing time.

With Boykin traded on the eve of training camp, Shepherd moved up to his role in the nickel package. The Eagles liked Shepherd a lot based on video from his senior year at Kansas. But a torn hamstring lowered Shepherd's draft stock. He did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and ran it in 4.65 seconds at Kansas' pro day.

But Shepherd looked very promising during the Eagles' offseason workouts, enough so that they traded Boykin.

With Shepherd out, the Eagles likely will look at second-year defensive back Jaylen Watkins and undrafted rookie Denzel Rice in the nickel.

Another possibility would be to moveNolan Carrollfrom outside corner into the slot in nickel situations. Rowe, a second-round pick from Utah, could come in and take Carroll's spot on the outside.

Shepherd is the second Eagle to tear an ACL in the first week of training camp. Linebacker Travis Long, who had a good chance to make the team as a backup on the outside, tore his left ACL during a noncontact drill last week.

The injuries underscore the risk the Eagles took by trading for quarterback Sam Bradford, who has looked sharp in camp but is coming off two torn ACLs in a 10-month span.


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