Can these new linebackers elevate the Eagles defense in 2022?

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Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kyzir White (43) intercepts a pass during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles have been behind the wall of scrutiny for the last several years as fans and media members alike have questioned the team’s stance on the linebacker position. They’ve gone from UDFA’s such as Alex Singleton to drafted players who they attempted to convert like Nate Gerry to even veterans that didn’t pan out like Eric Wilson and Duke Riley.

It’s been a very odd standpoint for them for quite some time. Howie Roseman constantly mentioned how the team’s defense either didn’t need to depend on a linebacker or how they “believed” in their group. Whether it was arrogance or just plain old ignorance, the team has never been in the situation that they are currently in.

It seems that the missing ingredients that this linebacker has needed for so long have finally arrived. While they had good players that were on the roster before the arrival of these two players, it seems that these two individuals could help elevate the group as a whole.

The birds in development 

TJ Edwards and Shaun Bradley are both great against the run but are not in the upper echelon of coverage. Plus the Eagles seem to value Bradley more on special teams although he has flashed moments of great instinct on defense. Edwards has been a pillar of the group for quite some time now. He had a great season last year but hasn’t been the best in pass coverage over the years. 

As for Davion Taylor, it would seem that the front office has been high on his potential but injuries have kept Taylor out of the lineup. While he is still a bit raw, it may better suit him to back up the starters as his speed could come in handy when the team needs a change of pace.

A new 1-2 punch for the Eagles

This offseason the team went out and signed the hometown produce in Kyzir White. White has spent the last four years in Los Angeles with the Chargers as he converted from the safety position to linebacker. It took quite some time for him to find his footing but last year White broke out with a career-high 144 tackles,  1 sack, 2 interceptions, 3 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles.

It was a bit of a shock that the Chargers didn’t retain him but who could ever stop anyone that wants to go home? White has shown his value in coverage throughout the years and has great instinct. He has a nose for the ball that benefits a group that hasn’t been able to stop teams from getting passed the second level.

White showed these natural talents as he recorded his first interception as an Eagle against the Jets on Friday night. Kyzir intercepted Zach Wilson for a 27-yard return that placed the Eagles in scoring position.

While White is a key ingredient to what the Eagles can do at the linebacker position going forward, it’s Nakobe Dean that will lead this group to the promised land. Dean looked great in his NFL debut as he was everything advertised.

The former Georgia product was instinctual and showed how cerebral he can be. He was everywhere he needed to be as he did everything that Eagles linebackers rarely do. He made his tackles, he stopped the run for loss in yards and he looked as good as he could with the limited snaps. Dean finished with four tackles and an assist on the night.

It seems as if the Eagles could be in great hands at the LB position going forward. The better part of their situation is the amount of youth that is in the group. None of their players have more than four years in the league. The team won’t be relying on a tired veteran to carry the load which could pay off big time for the defense.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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