Over the past week, we have been taking a look back at some of the best Eagles of the 2010s by position. First up we ranked the top 10 quarterbacks of the past decade, and then it was the top 10 running backs. Next up was the top 10 receivers, followed by the top 10 offensive linemen, top 10 defensive backs, and top 10 defensive linemen. Today we are wrapping up our rankings by looking at the guys that take up the middle of the defense -- the linebackers.
There wasn't a ton of all-star talent at the linebacker position in the 2010s. In fact, it was arguably the team's worst position of the decade (along with the defensive backs). Still, there were a few players who contributed positively in their time here, and a few of these guys helped the franchise finally win its first Super Bowl. Here's our breakdown of the top 10 linebackers that played for the Eagles some time between 2010-2019:
10) Ernie Sims
Sims was acquired by the Eagles via a three-team trade in 2010, and needed to send away just a 5th round round pick to complete the transaction. Sims was supposed to solidify the linebacker position for an Eagles defense in desperate need of a solid linebacker. He played and started in 15 games that year and picked up 55 tackles, five passes defended, two sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. The team was apparently not impressed with the pending free-agent, and let him walk in the offseason. He coming in at #10 on this list shows just how thin the talent was at the position over the decade.
9) Akeem Jordan
Jordan was signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2007. He played in in 82 games (started in 34 of those games), and recorded 264 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. He was given three real chances to become the full-time starter, but his average play led the team to move on from him in 2012. Once again, Jordan making this list shows just how thin the talent was at the position over the decade.
8) Stewart Bradley
The Eagles selected Bradley in the 3rd round of the 2007 Draft, and he showed a little bit of promise in his rookie season. The promise he showed led to him being named the starting middle linebacker in 2008, which is where he exploded into a tackling machine, recording over 100 tackles in the season. He tore his ACL in a preseason practice late in 2009, causing him to miss the entire season. His return in 2010 was underwhelming, and so his time in Philadelphia had run out. A guy that was supposed to turn into a solid linebacker that the team desperately ended up being a major disappointment. He played in just 44 games (starting 29 of those), and registered 197 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, three sacks, three interceptions, 13 passes defended, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
7) Jamar Chaney
For being a 7th round draft pick in 2010, Chaney ended up being a little bit useful. He was pressed into a starting role once Stewart Bradley went down with an injury late in 2010. After two impressive starts, he was named the full-time starter in 2011, and played pretty well in that season as well. The team went out and got DeMeco Ryans in a trade before the start of 2012, which began the end of Chaney's tenure in Philadelphia; he was the backup once again in 2012 and was cut by the Eagles before the start of the 2013 season. In total, Chaney played in 44 games as an Eagle (with 23 starts), and finished with 158 tackles, nine tackles for loss, one QB hit, one sack, three interceptions, 10 passes defended, and one forced fumble.
6) Kamu Grugier-Hill
Kamu was snagged off of waivers when the New England Patriots got rid of him in 2016. He immediately became a special teams star, and eventually became the special teams captain for both 2018 and 2019. When he was thrown into playing linebacker in 2017, he held his own and showed the front office some potential. He eventually was trusted enough to become the full-time starter in 2018 and 2019, the latter season being heavily affected by injury. KGH played 54 games in the decade (starting 16 of them), resulting in 97 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three QB hits, one sack, one interception, two passes defended, and two forced fumbles. Him being a part of the 2017 Super Bowl team gave him a little boost in these rankings.
5) Nate Gerry
A 5th round draft pick in 2017, Gerry was mainly a special-teamer his first few years. In 2019 he got his big break when Kamu Grugier-Hill suffered multiple injuries, allowing him to fill in as a starter. He wasn't a superstar by any means, but his play was solid enough to be right smack in the middle of these rankings. In 39 games (and 15 starts), Gerry has recorded 100 tackles, four tackles for loss, five QB hits, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, one pick-six, eight passes defended, and one fumble recovery.
4) Jordan Hicks
Hicks established himself as a playmaker right off the bat when he entered the league in 2015. The only thing that was a concern for Hicks was his health, which remained an issue his entire career in Philadelphia. In his contract year when he failed to show his health, the team thought it was best to let him walk. Unfortunately it appears so far that letting him go was a mistake, as he had a very successful year in Arizona for the Cardinals in 2019. Still, he was very productive the times he was on the field in his fours years in Philly. Hicks played 43 games as an Eagle (starting 40 of them), and totaled 254 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 14 QB hits, five sacks, seven interceptions, one pick-six, 19 passes defended, one forced fumble, and six fumble recoveries.
3) Mychal Kendricks
Coming out of college in 2012, Kendricks was regarded as one of the fastest linebacker in the entire draft. The Eagles used a 2nd round pick to make sure he ended up in Philly. He became a starter immediately, but it wasn't until 2013 that he started becoming as productive as the team hoped. He stayed in Philadelphia for six seasons, and was one of the starting linebackers for Super Bowl LII. He ultimately requested a trade after the season, and was subsequently released. Kendricks played 85 games in an Eagles uniform (starting 74 of them). His stats include: 458 tackles (16th-most in team history), 40 tackles for loss, 33 QB hits, 14 sacks (3rd-most by a LB in team history), three interceptions, 25 passes defended, six forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries.
2) DeMeco Ryans
The Eagles were in desperate need of linebacker help going into 2012, and they made a splash by trading a 4th round pick to the Houston Texans to acquire DeMeco Ryans. Once he arrived in Philadelphia, Ryans immediately became the veteran leader of the defense. He was the starter for four seasons, but his age and health became a factor and the team ultimately moved on from him and drafted Jordan Hicks to be his successor. Ryans made impactful plays often for the Birds in the 54 games he played for him. He put together 334 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, nine QB hits, five sacks, five interceptions, 20 passes defended, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
1) Nigel Bradham
Bradham came over to Philadelphia from Buffalo when his former Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz joined the Eagles staff. He was a perfect fit for Schwartz's linebacker system, and excelled right away for the Birds. His first three seasons in Philly went as good as fans could have hoped and became reliable, but in 2019 his health started become a little bit of an issue. Still, he accomplished a lot in those last four seasons of the decade, including helping secure the middle of the field during the team's Super Bowl run in 2017. Bradham has played 58 games (starting all of them) and registered 348 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 11 QB hits, five sacks, two interceptions, 22 passes defended, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and two recovery touchdowns (T-2nd most in team history).