There are three potential linebackers in the draft that can go in round one. There are several massive free-agent linebackers on the open market. The Eagles have had a need for a stud linebacker for nearly five years now. While Nigel Bradham was serviceable with the team up until 2018, the team hasn’t had a true Pro-Bowl/All-Pro type player since Jordan Hicks was with the team. Many explained that in Jim Schwartz’s old scheme, the need for a LB just wasn’t that strong, but the time for that argument is over.
Whether it’s bringing Jordan Hicks back, kicking the tires on the future HOFer in Bobby Wagner or taking a first-round pick on one of the quick studs, the Eagles MUST make a move to enhance Gannon’s defense.
While T.J Edwards, and Alex Singleton showed promise, there’s no denying the need for a leader.
No more undersized LB’s getting run over by smaller running backs. No LB’s reading a play incorrectly and being completely out of position. No more LB’s being blown away by average speed players.
The position has been neglected for so long that the idea of high-ceiling players who are fundamentally raw just doesn’t wash anymore, and it’s the only area of the team where that applies. There has to be a foundation that enables you to develop talent, otherwise it’s simply a case of expecting huge strides from players who are just learning to walk.
It’s clear that the bargain bin approach didn’t work last season. Even with schematic familiarity, Eric Wilson’s time on the team was dismal. The remaining group was so young and inexperienced that teething problems were always going to be expected under a new defensive coordinator.
For the first time in a long time, the Eagles not only have the necessary cap space to bring in a veteran leader who can mentor the more inexperienced players, but they have an arsenal of first-round draft capital that can be spent on a young player who has both the upside to develop into an elite player, as well as the ability to make an immediate impact on defense. Howie Roseman simply has to make sure that the troubles in the heart of the defense come to an end, because he may not have a better opportunity to do so for quite some time.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire