Eagles Training Camp Preview: Linebacker


Before training camp, we have been studying every player on the Philadelphia Eagles roster and their fit with the team. Today we take a look at the linebacker.


Preview of previous boot camps

QuarterbackRun backOffensive tackleGuardcenterWide receiverTight knot
Defensive endDefensive tackle


First look at the depth map of linebacker:

1 2 3 4
Alex Singleton TJ Edwards Jackie Stevens Janal Avery
Eric Wilson Sean Bradley David Taylor Rashode Smith

Alex Singleton

Singleton is a rare bright spot in 2020. He only made 54 steals in the first five weeks of the season, and he still ranks 15th in the NFL with 120 steals. Give him those five complete games as a three-pointer, maybe he will lead the NFL in tackles?

Singleton proved that he is at least worth fighting for the starting three-pointer position in 2021, and playing in this season’s exclusive rights bidding, he should have the appropriate motivation to prove that his 2020 season is not a fluke.

Eric Wilson

As we have noticed endlessly, the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is the disciple of Mike Zimmer, which means that the Eagles’ linebackers will get more blitz opportunities. There is also speculation that Gannon will run a lot of Cover-2, which means that these linebackers can also better cover the area.

Wilson filled the data sheet for the Vikings in both areas last season because he had 3 INTs, 8 pass breakthroughs, 3 sacks and 9 QB hits. According to pro-football-reference.com, he will only allow 5.6 yards per goal in 2020. Oh, he has 122 tackles.

Wilson is still only 26 years old, and unless there is a terrible training camp, the Hawks will almost certainly start in 2021.

TJ Edwards

In 2019, as a losing rookie free agent, Edwards showed something as a base linebacker, And proved that he belongs to the NFL as a contributor to conventional defense.

In 2020, despite missing four games, Edwards quietly won the team’s third place with 70 steals. He also has two sacks, one draft pick and two forced turnovers. At least, Edwards has proven that he can be a good linebacker, and if necessary, he can fill the vacancy as a starter.

He is one of the real bargains on the list because his contract is $854,168 in 2021.

Sean Bradley

Bradley only played 76 regular defenses in 2020, but Anyway, I did an in-depth study on him, And left that exercise with the encouragement I saw.

Bradley has almost only played low positions in three-line guard combinations. As a running defender (of course-the sample size here is small), he usually seems to distribute the gaps, he shows good intuition, he has never been really bullied by the blocker, he did what he should do Tackle. Some of these tackles are located, behind, or close to the melee line.

Bradley’s coverage as a rookie didn’t have much to evaluate because he didn’t become a target once in the games I watched, but his coverage was mostly good, and he Have speed Runs on the court with a close end and most running backs.

In my opinion, Bradley should have more opportunities to play in regular defense this season, but even if he does not, his roster position may be safe because he is a core special team, his 284 This special team snapshot is in second place. The team, second only to Singleton (298).

Jackie Stevens

At Louisiana State University, Stevens is a safety/linebacker hybrid. He is a shrewd Flash, he made some big hits, and he is a good defender in area coverage. His career statistics:

Jackie Stevens Tackle (TFL) sack Intelligence Bureau Public utilities
2018 35 (6.5) 1.5 1 5
2019 year 92 (9) 5 3 6
2020 year 63 (6) 3 0 4
All 102 (21.5) 9.5 4 15

As you can see, Stevens has a high total of sacks and TFL to keep the university safe. The Hawks’ tendency to convert security guards to linebackers has not disappeared with Jim Schwartz’s departure, and it will obviously continue to be unconstrained. This is indeed a trend that is happening across the league.

Stevens’ skill set and his transition to linebacker make sense in the Zimmer-like plan that we expect Gannon to implement.

David Taylor

After being selected in the third round, Taylor played only 32 fast breaks in regular defense as a rookie, which is too early in my opinion.The difference with Bradley is After watching these snapshotsTaylor’s rookie season was not that encouraging because he had an unusual number of negative performances. Taylor is a difficult project player because he needs game action to get better, but if he looks like a rookie, he will not be able to play.

In terms of guards, Taylor is definitely behind Wilson, Singleton, Edwards, and even Bradley. He also has to contend with Stevens and Avery, so his roster position may be at risk, even as a third-round pick a year ago. The best thing Taylor did for him is Howie Rothman completely controlled the final 53-man roster. There is no doubt that Rothman will care more about Taylor’s former draft status than any coaching staff.

Nonetheless, Taylor does have primitive athleticism, and he can be used as a touchstone to test how this defensive team cultivates and develops talent.

Janal Avery

We took Learn more about Avery last offseason And concluded that his appeal is that he may be a mixed linebacker/pass rusher. The Eagles only use him as the latter, and in a very limited snapshot, his best use is as a standing charge for the “Joker” role.

Avery is always at a disadvantage when playing the defensive end with his height (his height is 6’0, 250, 31″ short arm) On the normal short distance, because he will be the main person responsible for running. Then even in the case of an obvious pass sprint, I don’t think you can rank him on the edge and expect him to have a high one-on-one victory, because his size always limits his pass sprint repertoire.

Although his explosive power is very obvious, it will be a challenge to find a way for him to play the role of a clown instead of communicating what is about to happen to the offensive side, unless he can also develop into a cover and a running player. Linebacker.

In the past two seasons, Schwartz has barely used Avery, probably for these reasons. Under Gannon’s leadership, Avery will transition to linebacker, which makes sense in the end.

(We will skip criticism of trading his fourth-round pick at the 2019 trade deadline.)

Rashard Smith

Smith was on the 53-man roster of the Cowboys from week 2 to week 7 last season, but he was not active in every game. He was laid off in October and taken away by the Eagles in November. He participated in two games with the Eagles and played 23 fast breaks for regular defense in the tank game in Week 17. He is the last 53 long-range shooters in the 2021 camp.

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