Instant analysis: Eagles trade for Falcons LB Duke Riley


The Eagles have indeed made a trade, but it’s not the one many were hoping to see. But while it isn’t Jalen Ramsey, this move does make sense on a few different levels.

The trade sees Jonathan Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round selection sent to Atlanta in exchange for LB Duke Riley and a 2020 sixth-round pick.

Cyprien was acquired by the Eagles earlier in the offseason and has played in 67.89% of special teams snaps and just 5% defensively. Meanwhile, Rudy Ford has played in just 1% less of special teams snaps than Cyprien. Ford flashed (for a huge/slightly illegal hit) on Thursday, but production may have been the difference here, given that Ford is tied for the team-lead in special teams tackles this year.

Ford was brought to Philadelphia in order to bolster Dave Fipp’s special teams unit, a unit that has just lost LB L.J Fort, who was released to make way for CB Orlando Scandrick. Fort also had 2 tackles and has been a perennial special teamer this year.

25-year old Duke Riley is a former third-round pick out of LSU but like Fort, has plenty of special teams experience. He’s played in 78 ST snaps so far this season. Losing Fort obviously stung, but instead of poaching a free agent linebacker, the Eagles acquired someone with a proven track-record, giving up an excess DB in exchange.

Riley has 16 starts in 32 games and 81 tackles in that span. He tallied a stunning 12 tackles against the Saints last season and has a high upside as someone that can contribute in this defense…which is just as well considering how inconsistent the position has been through the opening four games.

The Eagles are still set to have nine selections in next year’s draft and like the move to bring in Hassan Ridgeway, have shown an intent to spend that capital on proven talent at a low-cost, as opposed to flyers on borderline UDFA talent. This is a strong move for the Birds.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports