Breaking down the Eagles linebacker position as Training Camp begins

NFL: DEC 01 Eagles at Dolphins
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Alex Singleton (49) on the field before the start of the NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have finally made it to training camp. I am so excited that dog days of summer are coming to an end and that the Eagles are about to get back into action.

Now it’s time to break down an Eagles linebacker unit that has a lot of potential but not much in the way of long-term stability.

Eric Wilson:

Wilson ended up starting 15 of 16 games and had a breakout season in 2020. He finished the year with 122 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, and 9 quarterback hits. He filled up the stat sheet.

Wilson has the benefit of four years of experience in a Mike Zimmer defense that has been reported to be a basis of Jonathan Gannon’s scheme. Wilson is young and demonstrated that he could be a starting-caliber linebacker. He will immediately be the best coverage LB on the roster by a country mile. I am hopeful that the Eagles may have finally found a solution at Linebacker.

Alex Singleton:

Alex Singleton has had a long road to being a Starting Linebacker in the NFL. After going undrafted, he found success in the CFL becoming an All-Star as a part of the Calgary Stampeders. An injury to Nate Gerry allowed Singleton to start and he shined in comparison to Gerry by racking up 120 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 7 QB hits, 2 Fumble recoveries, and a pick 6. That is very impressive for a player who had strictly been thought of as a special teams contributor.

I want to root for Singleton, but he has issues in pass coverage that should not be ignored. I fear Singleton only looked good in comparison to a terrible linebacker room. So the former Stampeder may be overrated heading into the 2021 season. If he succeeds I will happily admit I am wrong, but I did not think Singleton passed the eye test last season.

T.J. Edwards:

Edwards is a strong-run defender and has a role on this team as a two-down linebacker. He is young and inexpensive but should not be counted on to be a starter. He fills a nice role on this team as a run stuffer and backup linebacker. Edwards has exceeded any expectations that the Eagles had for him as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Davion Taylor:

It is hard to not feel a little bad for Davion Taylor. After all it’s not his fault that Howie reached for him in the 3rd round. In Philadelphia being a 3rd round pick comes with a certain level of pressure and expectations. Taylor is an impressive athlete but is relatively new to football and needs time to adjust to the NFL fully.

It will be interesting to see if this new coaching staff can mold and develop someone as gifted as Taylor. I don’t think he will see too much on the field action, but Davion is unlikely to be cut since GM Howie Roseman has the final say on the 53 man roster.

Shaun Bradley:

Bradley certainly showed flashes throughout his rookie season. I recently watched some of his film, a brief 76 snaps, but I was pleasantly surprised. He displayed good athleticism in coverage and showed strong instincts for finding the ball carrier as a run defender. I am cautiously optimistic that Bradley could be more than just a role player.

Genard Avery:

Avery joined the Eagles in 2019 at the trade deadline for a fourth-round pick. This trade has not aged well as Avery has failed to produce on the field or for that matter earn snaps. It certainly could be one of the worst trade acquisitions in Howie Roseman’s tenure.

Luckily for Avery, the Eagles finally moved on from a Jim Schwartz defense that was not well suited for his skillset. It’s expected that the Eagle’s new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon will have his linebackers’ blitz and pass rush which will match Avery’s skillset. This is his best and possibly last chance to show that he can be a valuable asset on an NFL roster.

Final Thoughts:

The Eagles are desperate for someone to set up at Linebacker because there isn’t any single player that they can fully trust. That being said, I think the Eagles have players like Wilson, Singleton, and Bradley that could finally solidify the Linebacker Unit. I am excited to see what the rotation looks like throughout training camp and into the preseason.

Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire