Slot Stockpile: Birds Bolster CBs With Smaller Scott
The Eagles stayed busy bolstering their roster during a crossroads offseason, addressing Tuesday one of their weakest positions. The team acquired cornerback Josiah Scott from the Jaguars in exchange for cornerback Jameson Houston along with a 2023 sixth-round pick. Scott, a 2020 fourth-round pick from Michigan State, played just six games last year as a rookie, without any starts.
The Eagles also added to their offensive line, bringing back offensive tackle Casey Tucker, who they signed as an undrafted free agent in 2021. Tucker (6-6, 315) has spent time on the Eagles' and Lions' practice squads and most recently signed a futures deal with the Colts in January before being waved in April on the eve of the NFL Draft. Scott adds depth to a cornerback group that sees steep decline after Darius Slay, who's streak of three straight Pro Bowls ended last season. The Eagles desperately need another outside corner to start opposite Slay, but Scott's role is uncertain. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound former Spartan compares in size and speed to Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox, a fourth-round pick in 2018 who has played better as an interior, slot cornerback and free safety than he has on the perimeter. For most of his rookie year with Jacksonville, Scott was behind first-round picks C.J. Henderson and third-year pro Tre Herndon. Scott played just 80 snaps, surprisingly none on special teams. Scott, who like Maddox played the boundary in college, is more likely to make the 53-man roster and provide depth to the cornerback group than Houston was, so the trade made sense just for depth purposes. Amazingly, Scott's NFL prospect comparison per NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein was ... Avonte Maddox. Scott earned the nickname "The Gnat" at Michigan State for his aggressive playing style, athleticism and coverage, which were also traits that described Maddox coming out of Pittsburgh in 2019. The main concern about Scott going into last year's draft was his size and if he'd fare better inside than outside. A league source who's seen Scott's college tape told Inside The Birds that Scott ran with former Penn State speed receiver K.J. Hamler and with Ohio State deep threat Chris Olave. Hamler was a second-round pick by the Broncos in 2020.
Given the injuries that have decimated the Eagles' secondary over the past few years, adding a solid prospect despite positional uncertainty makes sense. Right now, the corners likeliest to make the 53-man roster are Slay, Maddox, fourth-round rookie Zech McPhearson and Scott. Also competing for the final spot or two: Craig James, Michael Jacquet, Shakial Taylor, Lavert Hill, Kevon Seymour, Grayland Arnold and newcomer Nate Meadors. Scott played in 30 career games at Michigan State and totaled 98 tackles, 25 passes defended and seven interceptions. A torn meniscus limited him to eight games as a sophomore but he still earned Defensive Most Valuable Player of the 2018 Redbox Bowl.
Houston, an undrafted rookie last season out of Baylor, spent time in training camp with the Browns and Panthers but didn't make a roster and eventually signed Nov. 25 with the Eagles. He played 22 snaps in three games last season. – Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the "Inside the Birds" podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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