Philadelphia Eagles: Get to know linebacker Paul Worrilow

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

On April third, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Paul Worrilow to a one-year deal. Here’s everything you need to know about the linebacker and special teamer.

The Philadelphia Eagles just keep making moves.

After acquiring a trio of quality veteran players over the first few days of the 2018 NFL calendar year in Haloti Ngata, Mike Wallace, and Corey Nelson, Howie Roseman and company were at it again on April third when the team signed fifth-year veteran linebacker Paul Worrilow to a one-year deal and frankly, it’s a great signing.

After shuffling through as many as six linebackers in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 scheme last season, and the ever-present question as to whether or not Jordan Hicks will be ready to play on opening day, the Eagles have once again bet on a low-risk, high-reward role player hungry to compete for a title, and in Worrilow’s case, one who’s familiar with the area.

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A native of Wilmington, Worrilow grew up in the shadows of the 215, and after an abbreviated stint at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, returned home to quietly star for his hometown college, University of Delaware. While playing alongside current NFL players Marcus Burley, Zach Kerr and Nick Boyle, Worrilow helped to lead the Blue Hens to a 30-18 record over his four years on campus, but unfortunately, it didn’t help his draft stock, and the 6-foot tall linebacker ultimately wasn’t selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.

After being considered a longshot to even make the NFL roster, the ex-Blue Hen found a home with the Atlanta Falcons and quickly made his presence known. Playing predominantly strongside linebacker in then-coach Mike Smith‘s 4-3 scheme, Worrilow was named to Mel Keiper’s All-Rookie team and lead the Falcons in tackles over his first two seasons in Atlanta.

But when the Falcons hired Dan Quinn to be their new head coach going into the 2015 season, Worrilow quietly fell out of favor.

Though he still started in 2015, all of his numbers were down, and by the 2016 season, Worrilow was logging the vast majority of his snaps on special teams and looked ready to move on when his contract expired.

After receiving interest from a number of NFL teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Worrilow decided to takes his talents to the Motor City to reinvigorate his career as a member of the Detroit Lions, and unfortunately didn’t go quite as planned.

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Now lining up on the inside in Teryl Austin‘s 4-3 scheme, Worrilow played sporadically on the defensive side of the ball and effectively destroyed any chances of receiving a long-term deal to become a full-time starter.

So, why would the Eagles want to bring Worrilow into their already loaded linebacking core?

One word, versatility,

Though he probably won’t come in and instantly become a starter, Worrillow has experience playing at all three 4-3 linebacking positions and could hold his own as a spot starter across the board if need be. With no true backup middle linebacker on the roster last season, adding a capable reserve mike linebacker who’s comfortable calling plays in the middle could become invaluable should Hicks be inactive week one.

Furthermore, not only is Worrilow a competent reserve linebacker, but his prowess on special teams could serve as a major boon to Dave Fipp‘s units, and help to make their core of Kamu Grugier-Hill, Chris Maragos, and Corey Clement that much more menacing.

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With Mychal Kendricks far from a lock to be on the team come training camp, Jordan Hicks a question-mark for Week 1, and Corey Nelson far from a lock to become a Day 1 starter, taking a calculated gamble on a homegrown talent who at one time was considered a rising star could pay major dividends for the Eagles going into 2018, and is the kind of move championship-caliber teams tend to make in April.