Eagles analysis

Why Eagles are confident in former undrafted CB filling in for Bradberry

James Bradberry is in the concussion protocol on a short week so it looks like Josh Jobe will start on Thursday night.

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James Bradberry took on some friendly fire late in the Eagles’ 25-20 win over the Patriots and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol on a short week.

So the Eagles will likely have to turn to a second-year UDFA.

The turnaround from a late-afternoon game on Sunday to a Thursday Night Football game probably won’t give Bradberry enough time to clear the protocol, so you can expect to see second-year cornerback Josh Jobe starting in his place on Thursday against the Vikings.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Josh,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said on Monday afternoon. “That’s why he’s made our roster the last two years. I think he’s a really physical corner who is long, strong, is able to just — when he gets his hands on you, he’s able to control you.”

With Pro Bowler Darius Slay on one side and a relatively unknown and unproven former undrafted corner on the other, the Eagles are probably going to see Kirk Cousins and the Vikings test Jobe’s side of the field on Thursday night.

“We’ve got a lot of faith in Josh,” Sirianni reiterated, “and regardless of who’s in there, we know we can play the schemes that we want to play because Josh is our third corner, and your third corner has to play. There are times when he’s going to have to play some.”

Jobe, 25, played the final eight defensive snaps in the win over the Patriots and he was in coverage on that final 4th-and-11 pass attempt that was eventually ruled incomplete on replay.

Jobe (5-11, 190) has put together two very strong training camps in back-to-back years. In 2022, as an undrafted rookie out of Alabama, he made the roster. And this season, he didn’t just make the roster; he earned the Eagles’ top backup outside cornerback job, beating out Greedy Williams, Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks.

Whenever Slay or Bradberry weren’t on the field this summer, it was always Jobe out there, taking their place. And he performed well.

During training camp, Jalen Hurts singled out Jobe as a young cornerback who was impressing him. And the guy Jobe will likely replace on Thursday is also a fan.

“I feel like the game has slowed down for him,” Bradberry said this summer. “I think he’s thinking at a faster pace. He’s always been athletic, he’s always been physical. I think that showed last year. But I think the mental part of the game is definitely starting to improve for him. He can also run. I think he’s faster than me. I think it’s going to be a good year for him.”

Of course, there’s a difference between playing well in training camp and performing well in your first NFL start in a primetime game against a pretty darn good passing offense. Cousins, for all his warts, can air it out. And the Vikings boast a strong 1-2 punch with All-Pro Justin Jefferson and first-round pick Jordan Addison.

Even if the Eagles travel Slay with Jefferson on Thursday night, Jobe would still have to deal with the No. 23 overall pick in the draft who is coming off an impressive NFL debut in Week 1.

But facing top tier talent isn’t anything new to Jobe. He came from Alabama, where he was a two-year starter. Just in practice alone, he had to deal with guys like DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Jameson Williams, John Metchie, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

“Man, I’ve been a fan of Jobe since Bama, man,” Smith said this summer. “I’ve been going against Jobe for a while. Just seeing him come out here and the trust that they have in him to put him out there and things like that. And he’s only gotten better. Somebody that I believe in myself, seeing him from Day 1 at Alabama to now.”

When asked what stands out most about Jobe’s play, Smith pointed out Jobe’s physicality but also praised Jobe for continuing to understand leverages and opposing offenses.

While Jobe played a lot at Alabama, he hasn’t seen much action on defense in the NFL. He played 12 defensive snaps as a rookie and added 8 more on Sunday evening in Foxboro, giving him a grand total of 20 in his NFL career.

But Jobe has become a very good special teamer, playing 242 snaps in 12 career games. He made a nice play as a gunner in the opener.

“You get really excited about that when an undrafted free agent comes in and performs like Josh has,” Sirianni said, “both on special teams, and (it) gives you the confidence that you have in him on defense.”

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