Philadelphia Eagles: Nathan Gerry is the Eagles’ best-kept secret

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After turning in his best single-game performance as a pro, Nathan Gerry has quietly become the Philadelphia Eagles’ best-kept secret.

Alright, I’m just going to come right out and say it: Nathan Gerry is the Philadelphia Eagles‘ best-kept secret.

Why? Well, for one, he’s played really, really well over the first month of the regular season – amassing five tackles, a pick, and a pass defensed on 57 defensive snaps – while simultaneously being a player known only to the most die-hard of Eagles fans.

And frankly, Gerry’s sudden emergency – capped off with a fourth-and-1 51-yard pick-six that effectively sealed the Eagles Week 5 win over the New York Jets ten minutes into the contest – couldn’t have been any more unlikely.

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A high school track star out of South Dakota, Gerry spent his entire college career in Nebraska, where he played four years as a steady contributor for the Cornhuskers before being drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Now sure, the third-year linebacker’s path to the NFL is practically prototypical, but Gerry did it all as a 6-foot-2, 218-pound safety; yeah, you read that correctly.

Despite only moonlighting as a linebacker as a freshman, Howie Roseman and company drafted Gerry to play linebacker full-time, with the hopes that adding 20-30 pounds of muscle wouldn’t take away from his natural gifts.

And if we’re being honest, the substantial transition did not go particularly smoothly.

Slotted in at third-string weakside linebacker for much of the summer, Gerry failed to make the opening day roster as a rookie, landing on the Eagles practice squad for the first month-plus of the regular season. While said practice squad sabbatical ended was fairly brief, as he was ultimately elevated to add depth and special teams ability just in time to become a core member of the team’s Super Bowl-winning roster, Gerry only logged 20 defensive snaps as a rookie – less than November-signee Dannell Ellerbe.

But Gerry didn’t let that slow him down. In 2018, Gerry saw his defensive snaps jump to
134 while carving out a nice niche as a subpackage inside linebacker – but nothing and I do mean nothing, could have prepared us for number 47’s sudden emergence in 2019.

Still relegated to a part-time role behind Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown, and eventually Kamu Grugier-Hill, Gerry has transformed himself into a serious ballhawk in the middle of the Birds’ secondary – thoroughly stuffing his stat sheet with two more tackles, a pass defensed, a QB Hit, and the aforementioned 51-yard interception in a surprise case for Week 5’s defensive MVP.

He won’t win defensive MVP mind you, not after Orlando Scandrick‘s four tackles, two-sack, and a touchdown performance, but still, Gerry deserves a ton of credit for not only taking to his new position like a natural but doing so while retaining the coverage skills that allowed him to play 48 games at safety in college.

One could even make the argument that Gerry has been the Birds’ second-best linebacker so far this season behind only Bradham, as KGH missed the first three games after a summer injury, and Brown has been immensely underwhelming after making his way to Philly after a stint in our nation’s capital – not too bad for a college safety who had to put on 12-plus pounds to play his new position.

Next. Alex Ellis is the new Julian Vandervelde. dark

While the Philadelphia Eagles’ win, and by extension stats, should be taken with a grain of salt because of the sheer badness of the Luke Falk-led Jets, Nathan Gerry‘s interception was all instincts. If he continues to shine as the team’s situational weakside linebacker, Jim Schwartz may have to carve out a more substantial role for the third-year linebacker, both in base, the nickel, and maybe even filling Johnathan Cyprien‘s former role as a dime linebacker.