The Philadelphia Eagles enjoyed a rare off-day on Tuesday, but they made noise by adding a shiny new cornerback to their thin secondary. The team poached Mac McCain III off the Denver Broncos’ practice squad and added him to the 53-man roster. The Eagles had an extra spot after releasing safety Grayland Arnold.
McCain, an undrafted rookie out of North Carolina A&T, presumably slides right into a backup role behind Steven Nelson and Darius Slay on the Philly depth chart. The 6-foot, 175-pounder tweaked his hamstring early at Broncos’ training camp and missed the first two preseason games. McCain recorded three tackles in the preseason finale while earning the second-highest signing bonus among Denver’s undrafted rookies.
The Eagles desperately needed to make a move for a corner. They have Josiah Scott sitting on injured reserve, with Michael Jacquet and Craig James relegated to the practice squad. Rookie Zech McPhearson (outside) and newcomer Andre Chachere (nickel) were the only two backup cornerbacks on the active roster.
McCain started 29 games for the Aggies from 2017-19 and earned All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors in all three seasons. He left school with 113 tackles, eight interceptions and 22 pass break-ups. North Carolina A&T opted out of the 2020 campaign over COVID-19 concerns which plummeted McCain’s draft stock.
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at his pro day but no NFL teams bit on the young corner, maybe because he missed parts of two seasons due to a non-contact torn ACL.
“For sure, I would have been drafted,” McCain told the Denver Post. “I really needed that last year to up my stock and show the scouts that I was fully healthy.”
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McCain’s Grandfather Was Civil Rights Icon
There’s no denying that McCain was a stud college cornerback. Off the field, his family tree might be even more impressive. Franklin McCain was a member of the famed “Greensboro Four,” a group of four brave college students who staged a sit-in at the lunch counter of a Woolworth’s after they were denied service for being black in 1960.
There is a statue on the campus at North Carolina A&T honoring them, plus a movie called “February One” which premiered in 2003. The actual lunch counter from that monumental event sits in the Smithsonian Institute. Franklin died when Mac was a month shy of his 16th birthday.
“My grandfather was a real thinker,” Mac said in a NFL 360 feature, via the Broncos website. “He always had the end goal in mind when he did stuff, so in 1960, him and his friends challenged each other to change the world. They did that by coming down to the Woolworth and sitting down at the whites-only counter, and they refused to get up. They took a stand against segregation.”
Ex-Eagles CB Joins Texans’ Practice Squad
Veteran cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc will join the Houston Texans’ practice squad, per Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 970. He was brought in for a workout earlier in the day and passed his tryout. The Eagles let him walk in free agency after three seasons in midnight green.
LeBlanc played 24 games (six starts) for Philadelphia where he primarily served as the nickel cornerback. He has 118 total tackles, two interceptions, 18 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one defensive touchdown during a six-year career with the Eagles, Bears, Lions.