Josh Jobe was supposed to hear his name called during the 2022 NFL Draft.
Sure, his senior season at Alabama wasn’t great, and he didn’t exactly set the scouting world on fire with his athletic testing measurables, but surely some team would see the value in selecting a 24-year-old defensive back with extensive experience covering some of the best wide receivers the SEC has to offer, right?
Apparently, the answer to that question was a resounding no, and the Philadelphia Eagles should be incredibly thankful that that was the case.
Despite not even being the most coveted undrafted free agent cornerback signed by the Birds immediately following the 2022 NFL Draft, as Clemson’s Mario Goodrich earned $82k more in guaranteed money than the Alabama product, Jobe kept his head down and consistently competed throughout camp as he rapidly found a home with the twos.
While he was beaten up a bit in the first preseason game of the summer, giving up five catches on six targets for 57 yards, Jobe evened out over the final two games of the summer and looked like the team’s best reserve over drafted talents like Kary Vincent Jr. and Tay Gowan versus the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins.
This improvement, when coupled with the meh performances of the rest of the team’s efforts, makes one thing clear heading into cut-down day: Jobe deserved a spot on the Eagles’ roster.
Fortunately, Howie Roseman agreed, and the pride of Alabam has officially outlasted the competition to make the 53-man roster as a rookie.
Josh Jobe and Zech McPhearson are ideal young developmental CBs for the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the longest time, the Eagles’ depth at cornerback was poor to very poor. They didn’t have a legit number one cornerback for about a decade between the subtraction of Asante Samuel and the arrival of Darius Slay, and their young, developmental guys topped off at Jalen Mills, who admittedly played a ton of snaps for a former seventh round pick, but was overall moved to safety before he ultimately left the City of Brotherly Love for New England.
In 2022, however, the Eagles suddenly find themselves with a wealth of talent at arguably the most important position on the defense, both in the starting lineup and coming off the bench.
On about half of the teams in the NFL, James Bradberry would be their CB1. Sure, he had a bit of a down year in 2021 following a masterful effort in 2020, and the New York Giants ultimately opted to release him for his contract, but that had more to do with his cap hit than his play. Now tasked with playing opposite Slay, the Eagles have a one-two tandem that might not be the best duo in the NFL, but is likely darn close.
And behind that dynamic duo? Well, the Eagles have a pair of promising performers in Jobe and Zech McPhearson who can learn under Slay and Bradberry and hopefully take on a bigger role moving forward when one or both of the current starters move on. Slay specifically lauded McPhearson for his development earlier in the summer, and Jobe clearly turned enough heads to justify outlasting a pair of performers who Roseman explicitly traded for last season.
If just one of those players can become a serviceable CB2 opposite a first-round pick corner, the Eagles will be in very good standing. And if both can do so? Well, then the Eagles will be in very good shape indeed.
Look, cornerback is one of the hardest positions to play in the NFL; you don’t get plays off, you largely don’t earn stats for doing a good job in coverage, and one single mistake could be the difference between a short gain and a massive touchdown. If the Eagles think McPhearson and Jobe have that special little spark needed to be a player at the next level, then they 100 percent made the right choice on keeping them around even if the latter was once thought to be a longshot to make the team.