Looking for LBs

Posted: April 14th, 2024 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Looking for LBs

The 2024 draft will be a success or failure based on whether the Eagles find good players to help them make another run at a Super Bowl. One of the key subplots to the upcoming draft is whether the Eagles can find a good LB.

The team hasn’t spent a first round pick on an off-ball LB since 1979. That isn’t likely to change this year. None of the LBs is worth pick 22. You can find good LBs outside the first round. Go back to the old days and the Eagles found both Byron Evans and William Thomas in the fourth round. In 1998 the team found Jeremiah Trotter in the third round. Stewart Bradley was a third round pick in 2007 and looked like a stud before an ACL injury ruined his career. Jordan Hicks was a third round pick and he’s had a good NFL career.

I may have left out a back pick or two or 37. The point is that you can find good LBs in rounds 2-4. Key players, even. It feels like the Eagles really need to pull that off this year. LB has been a revolving door of mediocrity for too long. I think Howie Roseman understands that and the Eagles have paid more attention to LBs than in previous years.

This isn’t a great LB class, but there are some good players to target. Here is the way I have them ranked.

2nd – Edgerrin Cooper
2nd – Junior Colson
2nd – Payton Wilson
3rd – Trevin Wallace
3rd – Cedric Gray
3rd – Jeremiah Trotter Jr
4th – Tommy Eichenberg

If you prefer Dane Brugler from The Athletic, he’s got this group:

2nd – Junior Colson
2nd – Edgerrin Cooper
3rd – Trevin Wallace
3rd – Payton Wilson
4th – Tommy Eichenberg
4th – Cedric Gray
4th – Jeremiah Trotter Jr

I really want the Eagles to come away with Cooper, Colson, Wilson or Wallace. There are no sure things, but those guys feel the safest.

Cooper is an explosive athlete with big time potential. I prefer LBs to be instinctive. That’s not his strength, but he’s more than just an athlete. Cooper is a playmaker who knows how to take advantage of his athleticism.


Colson is a MLB type. He is a sure tackler and physical inside presence. He’s effective in coverage. Colson isn’t special athletically, but he’s good enough.

Wilson is one of the most interesting players in the entire draft. He is a special athlete.

He had 6 sacks, 3 INTs and a FF in 2023. That shows tremendous playmaking potential. Normally he would be a Top 50 pick or even a first rounder, but he’s an older player and has an extensive injury history. That last bit does need some context. Wilson played in 23 games over the past two seasons. He only played in 2 games in 2021. He played in 21 games in the two years before that. Wilson missed the 2018 season with a knee injury and had a knee injury in high school. He was durable the last two seasons, but you need the medical staff to sign off that they think he can stay healthy in the NFL. Risk vs reward.

Wallace is another good athlete. He ran 4.51 at the Combine and you see that speed on tape. He’s solid vs the run, but really stands out when he’s in space and can use that speed. He also looks good in coverage.


The Eagles brought Cooper and Wallace to Philly for visits. That tells you they have real interest. We haven’t heard a word about them with Colson or Wilson. Most of the LBs the team has checked out closely this postseason have been good athletes so that makes me wonder if they are high on Colson.

Of the late round guys, the Eagles have shown interest in Jontrey Hunter from Georgia State. He is a former DB who moved to LB and made a ton of plays. He ran 4.91 at his Pro Day, but sure looks faster on tape. He needs some time to develop, but has NFL ability. The Eagles worked him out at his Pro Day.

I’m still working on some late round guys so we’ll see if anyone pops out. I’m still looking for the next Jamar Enzor.


Random OL Thoughts

I could see the Eagles loving Michigan OG Zak Zinter. He played RG for the Wolverines and started 42 games for them. He’s a leader and strong personality. Zinter has good size at 6-6. 309 and is the kind of physical, nasty blocker I know Jeff Stoutland would enjoy coaching.


Matt Goncalves played LT for Pitt last year and had a solid season. I went back and watched some 2022 tape to see him at RT. I came away really impressed. Jeff Stoutland was at his Pro Day. I could see Goncalves going as early as the third round. Some have projected him to OG, in part due to have 33 1/4 arms. That’s not ideal. I think his overall frame and his footwork mean he’s got a legit chance to be a starting OT in the NFL.


The Eagles went to South Dakota State’s Pro Day to check out OG Mason McCormick and OT Garrett Greenfield. McCormick is the better pro prospect and should be a mid-round pick. He played very well against pro prospect Khristian Boyd this past season. I liked what I saw from Greenfield, who has played LT and RT. He’s 6-6, 311 and looks like a good athlete.


TCU blocker Brandon Coleman could play G or T in the NFL. The Eagles brought him to Philly for a visit. I wasn’t overly impressed when I watched him. I need to watch more. His highlights look great, but the games I saw just didn’t do much for me.


The Eagles reportedly brought DE Marshawn Kneeland to Philly for a visit. He played at Western Michigan and is an interesting prospect. When I first watched him, I saw a guy with a great motor, but he didn’t stand out as much as I expected. I watched a couple of more games and things started to click. We talk about Haason Reddick chasing sacks. Kneeland is the opposite. He doesn’t just fire off the ball and fly into the backfield. Kneeland will set the edge. He will bull rush and collapse the pocket. He has experience dropping back into coverage. He is more than just a pass rusher and that might be something Vic Fangio wants.


I don’t expect the Eagles to spend an early pick on a RB. With Saquon Barkley and Kenny Gainwell, they have a good 1-2 punch.

The team does need to add someone to the mix. The player I really enjoy is Audric Estime from Notre Dame. Some people love him, but I don’t think he’s got enough wiggle to be a foundational back for an NFL team. I would love him in the Jordan Howard role for the Eagles.

If he somehow gets to the fourth round, I’d love to see the team take him.

My guess is that the Eagles will wait until later to add another RB.


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