Philadelphia Eagles: JaCoby Stevens is the lone draftee waived

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

When a team drafted nine players, it’s going to be hard to find a spot for each and every one of them on the 53 man roster.

Is that a grim reality? Sure. You never want to make a player’s dream come true, have them move all of their stuff out to a new city and then reward them with a one-way ticket to the waivers wire, but, unfortunately, it happens every season, and for some teams, it happens multiple times per year; just ask the Tennessee Titans, who waived three of their draft picks this season.

Historically speaking, the Philadelphia Eagles have been pretty good about keeping their homegrown draft picks on the active roster for their rookie season, averaging roughly one released player per season since Howie Roseman regained power back in 2016, but for the most part, the team has kept said players around on the practice squad and elevated them onto the active roster when the opportunity presented itself.

Welp, let’s hope that happens again in 2021, as the Philadelphia Eagles just subjected another one of their draft picks to the waiver wire in ex-sixth round pick JaCoby Stevens.

Fingers crossed the Philadelphia Eagles can sign Stevens to their practice squad.

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JaCoby Stevens’ first summer in South Philly was not a particularly good one for more reasons than one.

Despite playing safety at LSU, Stevens was drafted with the express purpose of transitioning to linebacker, joining a Philadelphia Eagles linebacking corps absolutely flush with both experienced veterans and promising young prospects.

Had Stevens been allowed to fully test his mettle against the likes of Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson, and Davion Taylor, maybe he’d have proven himself a better coverage specialist than another former college safety the Eagles employed from 2017-20, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Stevens suffered a hamstring injury deemed week-to-week at the beginning of August that left him out of valuable practice reps and a DNP for the first two preseason games of the summer.

While Stevens did eventually make his preseason debut against the New York Jets in the final game of the summer, his 34 snaps were fairly forgettable and clearly didn’t generate enough hype to secure him a spot on the initial 53 man roster.

Had Stevens stuck with his college position, maybe things would have been different, but with seven players already locked into spots on the Eagles’ depth chart, there simply wasn’t room for another prospect at the position, especially one who would quite literally never be active on game days.

Assuming Stevens passes through waivers, he’ll surely remain in South Philly with the Eagles this fall, where he can continue to learn the ins and outs of playing linebacker while remaining a play away from the active roster.

Worst case scenario, he gets claimed by another team and gets to continue on with his career elsewhere on his four-year, $3.6 million rookie-scale contract; either way, Stevens’ NFL career is far from over.

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With no true coverage specialist in the linebacking corps, the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to draft JaCoby Stevens and kicking him inside to weakside linebacker made sense. Coverage linebackers are worth their weight in gold in the modern-day NFL, and landing one in the sixth round would be an incredible value. While Stevens may not be that player right now and could ultimately find himself claimed by another team over the forthcoming days, if he does pass through waivers, fingers closed he sticks around in the City of Brotherly Love for a little bit longer, as he’s just scratching the surface of his potential at linebacker.