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Chip Kelly was a big fan of JaCorey Shepherd with Eagles

The 49ers signed a new cornerback on Monday to replace the injured Chris Davis. Chip was high on him in Philadelphia.

The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback JaCorey Shepherd to their 53-man roster on Monday, replacing injured nickel back Chris Davis. Shepherd spent parts of the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was drafted in the sixth round, but spent 2015 on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in training camp. He was released at the end of 2016 camp, but was signed and released from the Eagles practice squad two separate times this year, with the most recent being this past Friday.

It is safe to say Chip Kelly had some input on this signing. I spoke with our friends at Bleeding Green Nation, and they had some interesting comments about Shepherd. According to them, before Shepherd’s ACL injury, Chip Kelly was intent on inserting the rookie as the team's starting nickel corner, without having seen him yet in an NFL game. The team traded cornerback Brandon Boykin early in training camp, and the belief was that Shepherd was the favorite to claim the job.

Shepherd impressed coming out of college. He converted from wide receiver to cornerback as a sophomore. He had 32 passes defensed during his final two seasons of college. He slipped to the sixth round in part because he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. But Chip Kelly liked him, and was ready to get him right in the mix.

Here is what our Kansas blog had to say about his strengths and weaknesses shortly after the draft:

Strengths: Shepherd's greatest strength on the field is his instinct. He simply doesn't give up catches without a challenge. He was credited with 32 pass break-ups in his two years as a starter, and according to Clint Trickett (former West Virginia QB), Shepherd never once gave up a catch on a deep pass. I don't know if that's 100% true, but given his incredible ball skills, it's possible. Also keep in mind that he was brand new to the position when he converted to corner his sophomore year. His relative lack of experience only makes his ceiling that much higher.

Weaknesses: His biggest weakness is probably as a tackler, where he's average at best even for a corner. Shepherd doesn't have great size, and doesn't play with a lot of physicality, so I wouldn't expect him to have a lot of success in jarring receivers at the line of scrimmage and knocking them off their routes.