10 Outside linebackers that must be placed on the Eagles’ draft board
No one would complain if the Eagles got better at the second level.
Here’s a trivia question for you. Can you name everybody that plays linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles? If you can, that’s great. If you can’t, don’t be bothered. That has no bearing on how loyal you are as a fan. It may just mean what this team has doesn’t make that much of an impression on you.
We know the team’s figured out the middle linebacker position. Jordan Hicks appears to be a player on the rise. We also know about the extension Mychal Kendricks signed recently. Unfortunately, he’s been a concern and very inconsistent. The Eagles got decent production from their second level, but one thing’s certain. This team isn’t very deep at linebacker, and if they’re going to be a factor, they could use a few more playmakers that strike fear into the opposition.
With that being said, here are ten outside linebackers who are projected to play in the 4-3 scheme that the Eagles need to place on their draft board (in no particular order):
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Harris had a slow start to the 2016 season, but when it’s all said and done, he may be the valedictorian of this class.
2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford Cardinal
Thomas is coming out early but may be one of the first few outside linebackers that are taken. For the season, he totaled 62 tackles, eight sacks and forced a fumble.
If you had a defense coordinator who utilized the blitz a little more often, Watt would be the perfect addition because of his pass rushing ability. He still might be worth a look being that he can play outside or inside.
In 2016, Davis took a step backwards, had some inconsistency and suffered through injury issues. That still doesn’t stop quite a few scouting sites from giving him second-round grades.
With his 18 tackles for a loss and his ten sacks, McKinley could make defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz rethink his philosophy on blitzing from the linebacker position.
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Not only is Williams an extraordinary talent, he saved his best performances for the Crimson Tide’s biggest games. That alone will make teams take notice.
7. Ryan Anderson, Alabama Crimson Tide
Anderson was everywhere for the Crimson Tide this season. He made plays in the backfield, forced fumbles, came up with sacks and even pulled down an interception.
Phillips will be the subject of some controversy due to his off-the-field issues. He has first-round talent but could see his stock fall when the draft rolls around.
9. Anthony Walker, Northwestern Wildcats
Walker is short and made some plays in 2016, but his weight is a concern. He’s still worth a look.
11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss should be enough to get Willis on any list. He’s stout against the run but can also make plays in the passing game. The Eagles could definitely use more of both.
Honorable Mention: Haason Reddick of the Temple Owls, Devonte Fields of the Louisville Cardinals, Steven Taylor of the Houston Cougars, Richie Brown of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Josh Carraway of the TCU Horned Frogs