Each staff has completely different wants throughout NFL Draft weekend and, as you’ll have surmised from being a soccer fan for longer than 30 seconds, it informs every staff’s board. The Philadelphia Eagles are not any completely different and I’ve taken the freedom of choosing 5 place teams that would use some reinforcements from the faculty ranks heading into the 2024 season.
The subsequent group up is: inside linebacker.
The Eagles, beneath Howie Roseman, haven’t put an emphasis on the within linebacker place, as an alternative opting to construct from the trenches and have a imply, gifted defensive position. Whereas this has produced many good groups for the Birds, utterly disregarding one place group for years on finish ultimately catches as much as you. The “catching up” was by no means extra obvious than this previous 12 months when the Eagles had sub-replacement stage manufacturing from the ILB place.
Heading into the offseason, Zach Cunningham, Shaun Bradley, Nicholas Morrow, and Shaq Leonard (who the Eagles signed through the 12 months to try to bolster the place) are all unrestricted free brokers. I’d be stunned in the event that they introduced Leonard again, however I can see them giving Cunningham and Morrow one other probability. Bradley suffered a season-ending ACL harm through the preseason and it’s tough to say what the Eagles may do with him.
Listed here are a trio of linebacker choices (not simply first spherical!) that the Eagles ought to take into account when they’re ultimately on the clock. (All measurements are from participant’s faculty bio)
Jeremiah Trotter Jr., junior, Clemson
Measurements: 6-foot-0 and 230 kilos
Profession stats: 39 video games (26 begins); 202 tackles (113 solo); 29.5 TFL; 13 sacks; 4 interceptions; 14 passes defended; 3 pressured fumbles; 2 touchdowns
Bio: Trotter Jr. huh? I’m wondering if his father performed ball too? You could already know this, however Trotter Jr.’s father, Jeremiah Trotter Sr., performed 12 years within the NFL, a lot of which had been with the Philadelphia Eagles. Trotter Jr. grew up in Philly and helped lead St. Joe’s Prep to 2 straight 6A state titles. He was one of many prime gamers within the nation as a senior and broadly thought-about the perfect participant in Pennsylvania. The star linebacker was named an All-American by a number of shops as a sophomore and junior and was additionally named a Butkus Award finalist as a junior.
Scouting report: As a Hater, I’ve spent a whole lot of time watching Clemson video games over the previous few years, praying on Dabo Swinney’s downfall, and, as such, I’ve seen a bunch of Trotter Jr. play. He doesn’t possess preferrred dimension for the within linebacker place, however he makes up for that together with his athletic capacity and his play-analyzing capacity. Very like his father, Trotter Jr. can lay the lumber on opposing ball carriers however he also can get swallowed up by greater, athletic offensive linemen. Nevertheless, his dimension can also play to his benefit as he is ready to disguise behind the primary stage of the protection after which, as if by magic, seem within the gap to make a cease. He’s additionally strong in go protection, which might vastly profit Philadelphia’s protection, and reads QB’s eyes (watch the start of the spotlight beneath and also you’ll see a few picks that he will get simply by following the quarterback) effectively. He’ll most likely be a second or third spherical decide.
Cedric Grey, senior, North Carolina
Measurements: 6-foot-2.5 and 235 kilos
Profession stats: 51 video games (39 begins); 369 tackles (199 solo); 30 TFL; 8.5 sacks; 5 interceptions; 18 passes defended; 6 pressured fumbles; 5 fumble recoveries
Bio: A local of North Carolina, Grey stayed dwelling for school and ended up incomes First Staff All-ACC honors in each of his final two seasons whereas incomes a few second staff All-American nods as a junior and making it to the semifinals of the Butkus Award voting as a senior. He completed second within the ACC in tackles as a senior and was one in every of two gamers to report 120 or extra stops. As a junior he gained the William Fuller (who performed three seasons with the Eagles within the 90s) Defensive MVP award at UNC and was additionally a staff captain.
Scouting report: I actually like linebackers that all the time emerge from the underside of piles as a result of it implies that they had been sticking their nostril in there and attempting to make a play. Grey persistently finds himself across the ball and, most of the time, he finally ends up making a play on it. He strikes effectively for a man his dimension and is ready to chase down working backs within the open subject. Primarily based on his highlights he’s, at worst, satisfactory in protection and he seems to have good data of the place the quarterback goes to throw the ball. I wouldn’t count on him to be a man that’s making a ton of performs within the backfield, however he additionally gained’t be giving up enormous performs by being out of place. Appears to be a fourth or fifth spherical man, however I might see him shifting up if he assessments effectively.
Jontrey Hunter, redshirt senior, Georgia State
Measurements: 6-foot-2 and 240 kilos
Profession stats: 42 video games (33 begins); 225 tackles (122 solo); 21.5 TFL; 6 sacks; 3 interceptions; 11 passes defended; 7 pressured fumbles; 3 fumble recoveries; 1 landing
Bio: A local of Tampa, Hunter spent his first 5 seasons at Georgia State as an out of doors linebacker/hybrid security sort earlier than shifting to inside linebacker for his final season. He earned Third Staff All-Solar Belt final 12 months whereas main GSU in tackles with 96. He completed his profession as the varsity chief in pressured fumbles and sixth on the all-time GSU tackles listing. He participated within the 2024 Senior Bowl as effectively the place he impressed together with his protection talents.
Scouting report: Hunter is a flexible prospect that would present the Eagles protection with a variety of abilities that it presently lacks. His bio on the Georgia State web site notes that he performed OLB for his first 5 seasons after which ILB for his sixth 12 months, however when watching his highlights you’ll discover that he would even line up in protection with large receivers, nearly like a field security or one thing comparable. Because of that, his protection instincts and approach are extra superior than you’d count on of an inside linebacker prospect. He’s a strong tackler however nonetheless has a lot to study in regards to the intricacies of the place since, , he’s solely completed it competitively for one season. Hunter is a participant the Birds might get within the seventh spherical or as an UDFA if he continues to fly beneath the radar.
And, in case you’re , right here’s a seven and a half minute highlight tape of his game against LSU, the perfect staff he performed in opposition to all 12 months.