Philadelphia Eagles: Vic Beasley could be a wide-nine monster

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

With Vic Beasley set to test the open market, the Philadelphia Eagles should seriously consider adding the speedy edge rusher on a one-year, prove-it deal.

One day after watching their former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan drop a 20-10 lead to ex-Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons reinserted themselves into the NFL conversation by announcing their intentions not to sign ex-first round pick Vic Beasley to a long-term deal.

While the decision to break this news on Twitter months before the start of the 2020 NFL calendar year is anyone’s guess, it does give advanced notice to teams in the market for a speedball coming off the edge; teams like your friendly neighborhood Eagles.

*Side note*, check out this interaction between the Falcons and a confused fan, it’s fantastic.

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Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 246 pounds, Beasley surged into the 2015 NFL Draft as one of the most polished edge rushers in his class. Despite only appearing in 48 college football games (25 starts), Beasley racked up 33 sacks over his final 31 games and finished out his career with the most sacks in Clemson school history.

Factor in Beasley’s clinical performances at the combine, where he was a top edge rusher in the 40-yard dash (4.53), the bench press (35), the vertical jump (41.0), the broad jump (130.0), the 3-cone drill (6.91) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.15), and it became apparent rather quickly the ex-Tiger wouldn’t have to wait long in the green room to see where he’d call home for the first four years of his NFL career.

Turns out, Beasley didn’t have to go too far, as Atlanta is two hours southwest of Clemson, South Carolina.

Selected eight overall above eventual Day 2 overachievers Danielle Hunter and Frank Clark, Beasley amassed 37.5 sacks through his first five professional seasons as an outside linebacker in Dan Quinn‘s scheme, earning one Pro Bowl appearance and a spot on the 2016 All-Pro list for a 15.5 sophomore season.

Was Beasley always the most reliable pressure getter coming off the edge? No, but he did record at least one sack in 28 of his 78 regular-season games, while also handling the typical responsibilities of playing outside linebacker in a Seattle Seahawks-adjacent scheme.

As crazy as it sounds, Beasley is not set to hit the open market as both one of the most underrated and overrated rushers in this spring’s free-agent class and could prove one of the more divisive players signed depending on the length and value of his next contract.

In the right scheme, Beasley has the potential to prove Atlanta wrong and earn a long-term deal, but if he struggles, it could prove general manager Thomas Dimitroff right.

If Beasley prioritizes fit and playoff contention over the security of a long-term deal, Jim Schwartz‘s scheme is tailor-made to turn the 27-year-old into a star on a one-year, prove-it deal.

As evidenced by his 2016 highlight film (check it out here), Beasley is a lightning-fast ‘fastball’ coming off the edge, with enough bend to get around tackles and the motor to power through initial contact. While Beasley is also versatile enough to rush inside, a role the Birds deployed Genard Avery in a few times last fall, he’s most effective with his hand in the dirt, lined up notably outside the (usually right) tackle’s shoulder.

Now, if you don’t mind me asking, who was the last speed rusher the Eagles have had coming off the edge? Josh Sweat has similar athleticism sure, but he’s never proven he can be relied upon as more than a part-time player. No, to find a true speedster coming off the edge, one has to go back a full three regimes, when Super Bowl champion Andy Reid still called Philadelphia home.

While adding a player like Beasley alone won’t suddenly fix the team’s pass-rushing woes, it would be nice to have a legit starting caliber end with enough speed to burst off the edge and penetrate into the backfield with ease. Beasley’s presence would also allow Schwartz to rely on a more consistent rotation that changes things up from the shared bull-rushing tendencies of incumbent starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see a lineup with Beasley, Graham, Barnett and Vinny Curry on the field together just to see how opposing coordinators adjust to that level of pressure.

Because the Eagles’ defensive ends are almost exclusively tasked with penetrating the line regardless of down and distance, a switch from the Falcons’ 3-4 to Schwartz’s 4-3 could allow Beasley to focus on what he’s good at, and play the game with a far more cerebral fashion.

Next. Reflecting on Andy Reid’s evolving legacy. dark

Granted, this is all contingent on the price the 27-year-old demands on the open market, as some teams flush with cash might offer him a big-money long-term deal, but if the price is right, there isn’t a better scheme to optimize Vic Beasley’s particular set of skills than Jim Schwartz’s wide-nine.