LB Update

Posted: June 10th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

We know Nigel Bradham will be the SLB and will be one of the Nickel LBs. Beyond that, there are plenty of questions.

Jordan Hicks could eliminate a lot of questions if he can fully recover and then stay healthy this year. Hicks is a gifted MLB and his presence in the middle of the defense makes the unit stable and more talented.

What about WLB?

The Eagles signed Corey Nelson from Denver with the expectation that he would come here and win the job. They aren’t going to give it to him. There are some holdover players who will offer competition. Kamu Grugier-Hill is in his third year with the Eagles. He has mainly been a STer, but got plenty of reps with the starting defense in the recent OTAs. KGH made some plays and flashed his athleticism.

There is also Nate Gerry (#47 above). The second year player is no longer a rookie making the transition from college SS to pro LB. He has some experience under his belt on STs and even defense. He now wants to go from backup to starter.

Gerry was 218 pounds at The Combine in February of 2017. That is not the body of a 218-pound kid anymore. He must have spent a ton of time in the weight room. That is someone in the 230-pound range, and with a chiseled build. Thankfully he didn’t go on the Lawlor diet to bulk up.

With Paul Worrilow hurt, the Eagles need a backup option at MLB. I wonder if Nelson or Gerry could get looks in there. Nelson played between the tackles a lot when he was with the Broncos and on the field in their Nickel D. He can take on blockers and play in traffic. It isn’t his specialty, but he can do it.

Gerry is tough and instinctive. Normally former DBs play outside, but the Eagles could at least give him a look in the middle.

Some people are going to see the uncertainty at LB as a problem. It could be.

It could also be a position where things work out just fine. Nelson is an experienced, talented player. He has good coverage skills. KGH is a terrific athlete and should have a good feel for the scheme by now. Gerry has bulked up enough to handle LB, but still looks like he will be athletic enough to fly around and make plays. Hicks is doing a great job in his recovery.

The Eagles let go of Dannell Ellerbe and Najee Goode. Those guys didn’t have the athleticism/cover skills to do what LBs need to these days. The Eagles have a talented group of athletes in the middle of their defense. That’s the way football is headed these days. You need guys who can run and cover.

If Joe Walker can come back from his injury or rookie Asantay Brown (only 215 pounds, but a gifted athlete) proves to be a quick learner, the Eagles could have a really intense competition for both roster spots and playing time.

*****

I wrote about some takeaways from the recent OTAs.

I talked about the LBs in there.

It is also possible I mentioned that Wentz dude.

_