Philadelphia Eagles: 5 potential replacements for Mychal Kendricks

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Philadelphia Eagles
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NaVorro Bowman

Even though free agency is over two months old at this point, there is still some serious value to be found on the open market for a team with a very specific need.

One of those players just so happens to be Penn State all-time great NaVorro Bowman.

A 2009 All-Big Ten selection, Bowman recorded 215 total tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions over his three seasons in Happy Valley, and parlayed his college dominance into a third-round grade in the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was selected 91st overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

And just like that, one of the best linebackers over the last decade entered the league.

While Bowman had a relatively forgettable rookie season, with only one start for Mike Singletary‘s squad, he burst onto the scene as a sophomore, recording an insane 111 tackles and two sacks in 16 sacks, securing his first of four All-Pro seasons.

From there, Bowman would go on to start 48 games over the next five seasons and earn three Pro-Bowls as the anchor of Jim Harbaugh‘s scheme, but his inability to remain on the field over the last few years has sidelined the one dominant defender.

After only appearing in four games for the 49ers in 2016, he quickly fell out of favor under new coach Kyle Shanahan and was unceremoniously released after seven seasons with the team, to search for a new team midseason as a 29-year-old, injury prone mike linebacker.

Though he didn’t have to wait long to find a new home, ultimately taking his talents across the bay to join the Raiders, Bowman only recorded 58 tackles over 10 games of action with his new team and looked ineffective in Oakland’s hybrid defensive scheme.

While Bowman could certainly add some much-needed experience to the Jim Schwartz’s front seven, he’s hardly an adequate replacement for Kendricks moving forward.

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Sure, he has the experience and football IQ to technically play outside linebacker, but after essentially losing two of the last four seasons to a pair of brutal knee injuries, Bowman hardly has the ability to cover running backs and tight end from sideline to sideline.

However, this doesn’t mean Eagles shouldn’t consider bringing in Bowman for the 2018 NFL season. Far from it in fact.

Even though Bowman can’t replace Kendricks one-for-one, he could replace Worrilow as the team’s veteran backup to Jordan Hicks.

With Hicks coming off of his own knee injury in 2017, the Eagles are a setback away from once again being forced to get creative in the middle of their defense, and potentially move Nigel Bradham back into the middle of the defense, in a move that would effectively weaken the front seven at two different positions in 2018.

Though it may not help the team replace Kendricks right away, if the Eagles want to add a tough thumper to the middle of their defense, who could be an absolute force on short yardage plays, they should consider bringing NaVorro Bowman back to the East Coast and try to recapture his Penn State glory days.