Philadelphia Eagles: Please prioritize the linebacker position

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles to get a big-time linebacker.

The Philadelphia Eagles have neglected the linebacker position for years. Since 2017, they haven’t had as good a group, and it’s gotten worse with each passing year.

Sure, they’ve seemingly found a hidden gem in Alex Singleton, a former CFL and practice squad player, who’s turned out to be a good football player for this team. However, this team needs to take the position more seriously moving forward.

The team went into the 2020 season with a group that clearly wasn’t invested in enough. They cut Nigel Bradham after 2019, leaving no veterans or guys with lengthy experience on the roster. Fans have tried talking themselves into a group of Nate GerryDuke Riley, and TJ Edwards, but it just didn’t work. They spent 2020 draft picks on Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley, but both spent more time on special teams than on the field for defense. They could be good in the future, but what we’ve seen suggests they aren’t ready just yet, and the team still needs to commit to a player that can get on the field now.

More from Section 215

Given the cap implications going into 2021, the Eagles won’t be spending the big bucks on a linebacker in free agency. That leaves the 2021 NFL Draft to find their future star linebacker.

The name that has been tossed around for the Eagles to pick in the draft is Micah Parsons out of Penn State. He’s arguably a top-10 pick, the best defensive player in the draft, and would be an immediate starting linebacker for the Eagles. However, given the team’s history, as they haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979. Based on that, you can fairly confidently throw out any Parsons to Philadelphia talk.

If they aren’t going to fill the need in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles need to invest in a linebacker on Day 2 in either the second or third round. Given recent drafts, history would suggest this is a good move.

Linebacker is a position where you can find great talent in the first round and get Pro Bowl production. However, the second round is where you can get the same production on an even cheaper rookie deal.

Since 2012, the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft have provided teams with great talent at the linebacker position. In 2018, players like Darius Leonard, Fred Warner, and Jerome Baker were all Day 2 selections and have turned into very good linebackers for the teams that drafted them. Leonard was the Defensive Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler, and an All-Pro linebacker in 2019. Warner is a Pro Bowler, and Baker is the starting linebacker and leading tackler on one of the best, young defenses in the NFL.

Take it to 2017. Zach Cunningham was selected in the second round by the Houston Texans. He’s been a Pro Bowler and the leading tackler in the NFL for 2020. Raekwon McMillan and Alex Anzalone were also linebackers drafted on Day 2 in 2017. They’ve been solid players in this league.

2016 is a great example of getting great talent on Day 2. Players like Jaylen Smith, Myles Jack, and Deion Jones were all second-round picks and have produced at a high level, getting Pro Bowl nods under their belt.

You can go on and on with finding good linebackers on Day 2 of the draft. Eric Kendricks, Kyle Van Noy, Jonathan Bostic, Jamie Collins, Bobby Wagner, Lavonte David. They were all second-round picks in their respective drafts and have been excellent linebackers in the NFL.

When you look at it, even the Eagles have found good linebackers before in the draft. Mychal Kendricks was a second-round pick in 2012, and Jordan Hicks was a third-round pick in 2015. They’ve done it before; now it’s time they do it again.

So who are the players the Philadelphia Eagles could find on Day 2? Monday, you could see a few potential targets, as Dylan Moses of Alabama and Baron Browning and Pete Werner of Ohio State will face off in the National Championship game. Nick Bolton of Missouri, Jabril Cox of LSU, and Chazz Surratt of North Carolina are other names to watch on Day 2.

Next. 3 most likely trade destinations for Zach Ertz. dark

The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t likely to use their first-round pick on a linebacker like Micah Parsons, based on previous history and the other holes on the team. That doesn’t mean they need to wait until the last rounds or even the UDFA period to find a linebacker. They need to prioritize bringing in a rookie linebacker that is ready to play now, and getting one in the second or third round is the way to go.