The Philadelphia Eagles were dealt a huge blow in two ways to their linebacker unit on the first day of OTAs. The team lost Paul Worrilow for the 2018 season with a torn ACL, after he collided with teammate Corey Nelson during practice. The Eagles signed Worrilow to one-year deal in April and hoped he would provide depth to a maligned linebacker unit.
Then, if matters could not get worse for the Eagles, they shockingly released veteran Mychal Kendricks, who spent the last six years in Philadelphia. Kendricks has been the subject of trade rumors over the last few seasons, but played the best football of his career last season when the Eagles lost both Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker to injury.
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With these two departures, the Eagles’ linebacker unit is now in flux. Who can they grab off the free agent to remedy their problem? Here are three linebackers that can help the Eagles this season.
1. Keenan Robinson
Robinson has spent his entire career in the NFC East with both the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, so why not join the Eagles? Robinson, 28, played the last two seasons with the Giants and was productive for the most part.
In 2016, Robinson played in all 16 games (started in six) and racked up 79 total tackles and seven pass deflections. He also played 70.2 percent of defensive snaps, which was second highest out of all the Giants’ linebackers.
Following his solid 2016 campaign, Robinson got hit with the injury bug and only played in six games last season. The 28 year-old would be a great addition for the Eagles as he can play multiple linebacker spots, which is good news for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
2. Dannell Ellerbe
This is a familiar face for Eagles fans as Ellerbe was signed late last season when Joe Walker struggling. Walker was the replacement for Hicks at middle linebacker, but did not look good in pass coverage.
However, the 32-year-old Ellerbe did not make much of an impact either, only playing in three regular season games. He would be a cheap option for the Eagles and a placeholder until training camp cuts rolls around.
3. NaVorro Bowman
Bowman would be an instant playmaker over both Robinson and Ellerbe if the Eagles were to sign him. Even though he is 29 years old, the former Penn State linebacker can still be productive.
In 15 games last season with both the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, Bowman compiled 127 total tackles, three pass deflections, and 1.5 sacks. While he may not be the All-Pro linebacker that fans fell in love with a few years ago, he can still be of use to an outstanding Eagles’ defense.
Not to mention, Schwartz would not have to force Nate Gerry or Kamu Grugier-Hill into a starting role.