After seeing their first two options to play nickel cornerback disappear, via trade and then injury, the Philadelphia Eagles have moved on to plan C at slot cornerback. Rookie Eric Rowe has the build to play outside cornerback or safety, but the Eagles utilized him as the first team slot cornerback during Tuesday's practice.
Rowe was pleased with his first practice in the slot, even if he entered camp expecting to only play safety and outside cornerback.
"It went well," Rowe said after practice to reporters, per True Jersey. "They threw me right into the fire at a fast pace. That's just what this league is about, so I just have to get ready.
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"I really did expect that they would play me both inside and out. Before camp, I actually really thought I was going to be safety and corner ... Now it's safety and nickel. So, yeah, I kind of expected it."
Just because Rowe held his own in the slot on Tuesday doesn't mean the job is his to lose. The Eagles will mix and match with their young secondary and it could take a couple more weeks of camp before a slot cornerback is decided on.
"We're going to rotate a lot of guys in there," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said prior to Tuesday's practice, per True Jersey. "(Jaylen) Watkins will be in there. [Eric] Rowe will be in there. E.J. Biggers will be in there. We all know that we have Walter [Thurmond] and Malcolm [Jenkins], but we have said all along we wanted to play corners in that spot. We'll make adjustments if need be."
Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis will look to get the best five players in the secondary on the field at once. If that means using Rowe at nickel, this is where he could end up for good during his rookie season. However, there are still plenty of other scenarios that could play out. Rowe could kick outside in nickel situations with Nolan Carroll manning the slot. Or, as Kelly mentioned, Thurmond, Watkins or Biggers could take over in the slot.
Keep an eye on the secondary as we move forward throughout camp and the preseason. It is easily the roster's most fluid position.
(h/t True Jersey)