Budding Friendship Could Help Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones Become Lito and Sheldon

It's likely no accident that when Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas walked into the Eagles' locker room for the first time last week, their stalls were right next to each other. 

The Eagles hope they're together for a really long time. 

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"We want to build a defense and build a team that can stick together over a period of time," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said during the draft, "and hopefully this is a first step toward doing that."

Jones, the Eagles' second-round pick, and Douglas, their third, first met in Indianapolis in early March. Both were coming off good 2016 seasons and were considered two of the top cornerback prospects in a draft class full of them. 

They hit it off instantly, chatting between on-field drills. They took turns asking each other how they looked in backpedals and asking each other if they looked smooth during the drills. They met, traded tips and then went their separate ways. 

It was just over a week later when the next event in a series of events that reunited them happened. Jones, considered by some to be the very best corner in the draft, tore his left Achilles tendon at Washington's pro day. The injury dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles' lap at pick 43 of the second round. 

Fifty-six picks later, the Eagles took Douglas out of West Virginia. And for the first time since 2002, the Eagles had picked two cornerbacks in the first three rounds of the draft. 

Now, they just hope Jones and Douglas will become as productive as Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown once were. 

And it might start with having that same type of close relationship. 

Upon their arrival to Philadelphia for rookie minicamp last week, Jones and Douglas picked up where they left off, growing their relationship. Obviously, Jones has been relegated to a spectator, but that just means they have different roles for now. 

Their budding friendship might end up being important for the growth of each individual. 

"We're just going to help each other out throughout this whole process," Jones said Friday. "If I miss something, he's going to help me. I've asked him a whole bunch of questions already. 

"And he's asking me to watch him on the field and see what he can get better on and I'm trying to critique him. It's just a good process for both of us to learn from each other." 

Jones admitted he's not a patient person and it burned him inside a little bit having to watch practice Friday (see story). He won't get the walking boot on his left leg removed until May 21, and even after that, it's a long road to recovery. 

With Jones out, and with minimal depth at the position, Douglas seemingly has a really good shot of earning playing time and perhaps even becoming a starter as a rookie (see story). So he'll take any tips he can get, especially from Jones. 

"We were just talking," Douglas said Friday, sitting at his locker as Jones sat next to him, staring at his phone, but also likely listening.

"I was asking him what he was seeing on the sideline from me. And how was I on top of the routes and stuff? And he was telling me what he saw. Pretty sure we'll watch film together. I'll catch him up on some of the tips that Coach gave us today at practice while he was at rehab."

The Eagles think Jones and Douglas have complementary skill sets - Jones is the speedier, quicker guy and Douglas is bigger and longer - that could make them a strong duo for the next several years.  

"And when you talk about the receivers in our division, in our conference, (you want) guys who can cover the quicker-twitch receivers and the guys who can take the big strong receivers that we face," Roseman said. 

It's going to take some time before Jones and Douglas are on the field together. There's no timetable for Jones' recovery and it seems possible this will end up being a redshirt season for the 20-year-old. 

But drafting two corners in the first three rounds wasn't about a quick fix. It was about growing the defense behind two talented corners who can help each other become the answer to the biggest question mark position that has stumped the Eagles for years. 

"He's a terrific player," Jones said of Douglas. "Me and him have been kind of close in this short amount of time, getting to know each other. That's going to be my guy for the next four years and more."

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