When the Detroit Lions decided to waive cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc in the first week of November, it didn’t move the needle much in terms of relevancy. After a couple of poor performances in backup duty for the Lions, LeBlanc was let go to make room for Andy Jones, who was coming off the PUP list in an effort to help replace the recently-traded Golden Tate.
But two months later, LeBlanc is proving that one team’s practice squad fodder could be another team’s savoir. LeBlanc would not end up clearing waivers. The defending champs, the Philadelphia Eagles, put in a claim for the 24-year-old corner.
In his first week with Philly, LeBlanc was just given special teams duties, the team didn’t want to push him. But it didn’t take long for injuries to force him into the lineup. Just one week after arriving in Philly, LeBlanc played in 44 defensive snaps against the New Orleans Saints—in a 48-7 blowout at the hands of Drew Brees. However, LeBlanc held up his end of the bargain, allowing just two catches for 24 yards on the day.
Two weeks later, LeBlanc was a starter for the Eagles. He would be part of the reason the Eagles won five out of their last six games and make an improbable playoff run.
Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz credits his scouting department for finding LeBlanc on waivers.
“That might’ve been the key to our season, putting a waiver claim in,” Schwartz said. “I had never heard of Cre’Von LeBlanc before.”
LeBlanc hasn’t exactly been a shutdown corner with the Eagles. He has just one pass defended during the regular season, and he had another in Sunday’s Wild Card win over the Bears.
But for an Eagles team decimated by injuries in the secondary, LeBlanc’s contributions at cornerback and special teams have been invaluable.
“Cre’Von is another one of those guys that has really stepped up for us,” Schwartz said. “I said before, I don’t know where we’d be without Avonte (Maddox). I don’t know where we’d be without Cre’.”
While the move certainly raises questions about the Lions’ personnel choices—especially considering their own struggles in the secondary—it’s hard to be too critical of the Lions front office here. The Eagles obviously play a much different defensive scheme than the Lions, and it’s not like LeBlanc was playing all that well in Detroit. Additionally, LeBlanc didn’t even start the season with Detroit—the Bears waived him in their final round of preseason roster cuts.
Still, if LeBlanc continues to see more success in Philadelphia, he may be viewed as the one that got away in Detroit.