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He was supposed to be a third-round pick. Maybe even a second-round pick.
That’s what all the experts said.
And why not? Jordan Poyer was a productive cornerback in college, he’s got good size, he enjoyed a productive Combine, no injuries. Even his arrest for not leaving a college bar last spring wasn’t a huge deal, and all charges were quickly dropped.
So what happened?
“I have no idea,” Poyer said. “At the end of the day, I knew if I got an opportunity, I was going to make the most of it.”
The Eagles finally ended Poyer’s misery, selecting him in the seventh round Saturday.
But not until 218 players and 26 other cornerbacks were taken.
“It has been a long couple days, that’s for sure,” Poyer said. “It’s just been a long couple days. But I was just happy to go somewhere. I know I’ll make the most of my opportunity.”
Poyer stands 6-foot, 190 pounds and was a consensus All-America last year at Oregon State, located in Corvallis – less than an hour from Eugene.
So Chip Kelly knew all about him.
And as Poyer slid through the draft, Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman kept watching.
Why did Poyer fall?
“I don’t know,” Kelly said. “You see it all the time. How they fall, I don’t know. … The guys you had fourth-round grades on are still sitting there in the seventh round. So we felt really good about that. Why? I don’t know.”
The Eagles had mid-round grades on both Poyer and Utah defensive end Paul Kruger, but they also didn’t have a pick from early in the fifth round until early in the seventh, so they had two hours to hold their collective breath until it was their turn again. They wound up landing both.
“We didn't have a pick for a long time from round five to round seven, and any of you guys that know me, that's not my most comfortable thing,” Roseman said. “I had to take a little walk to keep myself in line a little bit. … And when I came back I said maybe I should take another walk.”
Why didn’t anybody take Poyer?
“I don't know,” Roseman said. “I think that you're very surprised about some of the guys that go undrafted, and you go, 'Oh my god, how did that guy not get drafted?’ But it's the nature of the draft process. It's unique.
“But he's an incredibly instinctive, tough, athletic player.”
Poyer, who can play either in the slot or outside, was second in NCAA Division I last year with seven interceptions and had 13 in his career. But he’s also not a guy whose measurables are off the charts. He didn’t have a bad Combine, but he didn’t kill it either.
And he believes some scouts and coaches put more stock in his workouts than how he actually played football.
“Some people look at those numbers and really draft off of those [Combine] numbers,” he said. “Like I always say, I may not be the biggest guy out there or maybe the most athletic guy out there, but I’m a football player. I understand the game, I understand schemes, I understand offenses, I know my body, and I know who I’m going against. I’ll use that to the best of my advantage and it makes me the player who I am.”
Poyer will have a chance to play right away, since the Eagles’ cornerback spots are wide open, and they didn’t take another corner in the draft.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are gone, Curtis Marsh and Brandon Boykin are unproven, and, as of now, the projected starting corners are newcomers Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.
“That’s my plan,” Poyer said. “I just want to come in here and show what I can do. I know once I get the opportunity and once I grasp the playbook, I think that I’ll have an opportunity to play. I’m just going to learn from the older guys, learn from the vets and just make the most of the opportunity.”
The Eagles have not had good success drafting cornerbacks lately. In fact, they haven’t drafted a starting corner in 11 years, since the 2002 draft produced Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard.
Poyer is hoping to end that streak and prove a lot of people wrong in the process.
“I kind of want to have an idea of who passed me up because I kind of use that stuff when I play,” he said. “I’ll remember who passed me up and I’ll use it and let it fuel me.”