The Philidelphia Eagles undoubtedly have the most inexperienced linebacker core in the league after they allowed their veteran starting linebackers (Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill) to walk and leave the Birds with a situation that is far from ideal. General Manager Howie Roseman missed out on several excellent free agent linebackers like Blake Martinez and Cory Littleton that could have bolstered up one of their weakest positions on the team. Though there is still some time before fans should be hitting the panic button.
He did sign one free agent linebacker -- Jatavis Brown from the Los Angeles Chargers. He is now one of the Eagles more experienced linebackers on the field with four seasons under his belt. Though, he went from averaging 600 snaps a season his first three seasons to just 92 in this last season. With no injury being the problem last year, why his reps decreased should be a bit of a red flag, and that he should not be the top linebacker they rely on.
The Eagles do have Nathan Gerry returning, who the team seems to be very high on. He is one of their hybrid players -- originally a safety in college that converted to linebacker in the pros. Gerry has made some tremendous strides last season, earning the coach staff's attention and eventually a starting role, letting the team feel comfortable enough to release veteran Zach Brown who wasn't gelling in the Eagles system. I can see Gerry continuing his upward progress, though he does have some flaws.
He will need to work hard this season to make sure there are fewer blown coverages on his part. Down below is an example of how Gerry blew a coverage to leave a wide-open Blake Jarwin cause he misread the play.
The Birds also have ex-Atlanta Falcon Duke Riley, who the Eagles traded for early last year who filled more of a special teams role for the squad. Now, having a full offseason to learn the Eagles system, it will be interesting to see if he can offer more, especially since his stats are obsolete. Ultimately, I see his role remaining the same as last year -- a special teamer that can fill in at linebacker as a last resort.
The team only has one "true" middle linebacker, and that's TJ Edwards, who went undrafted in 2019. The Eagles seem high on this young player, and there is a chance for the second-year player to take a leadership role on defense. I feel they still need to add a veteran in this position to help teach Edwards and allow Edwards to progress naturally and not rush him into a role too big for him to handle.
The last linebacker on the current Eagles roster is ex-CFL star Alex Singleton, who played just five games last season and recorded just one assisted tackle. He was a top player back in the CFL, so I hope his transition to the NFL continues to go well. Though right now, I see him primarily as a special teamer and will be buried on the depth chart. This list of linebackers is upsetting to any Eagles fan, to say the least, so seeing the team miss out on some great additions to the position in free agency was very disappointing. They have never really put in effort into having a solid linebacker core under this regime, they prefer to play just two linebackers and have three safeties on the field.
At this point, I am saying the Eagles linebackers are the worst group in the league, and nowhere near ready to be playmakers in Week One. Howie Roseman needs to address this position in April's draft, or we will see the same problems from last season repeat itself.