Philadelphia Eagles: Ranking the off-ball linebackers of the NFC East

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
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2. Philadelphia Eagles

Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles likely would have been last on this list. Their trio of Genard Avery, T.J. Edwards, and Alex Singleton was underwhelming to say the least, and Birds fans the world over had to lie to themselves that the unit was good enough to be legit contenders even if it realy wasn’t.

Oh what a difference a year can make.

With three new linebackers on the roster and at least two new linebackers in the starting lineup, the Eagles won the start of free agency with a big-time former first-round pick on a multi-year deal, won the second round with a steal on a one-year deal, and landed one of the best linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft regardless of where they were drafted. If those three can go, the Eagles will be in an incredible spot moving forward.

Most important performer: Nakobe Dean

How Nakobe Dean translates from Georgia to the City of Brotherly Love will go a long way in defining how good the Eagles’ defense can be right out of the gate.

If Dean is just okay, he’ll likely still play, but T.J. Edwards will likely start at middle linebacker and run the defense so to speak. If Dean is instead able to beat out Edwards and become a solid, dependable middle linebacker, it’ll make the Eagles’ defense a good bit better this fall in Jonathan Gannon’s second season with the team.

And if Dean can be as impactful in the NFL as he was in college? Well, then the Eagles’ defense might just shock some folks and return to the same level as their 2017 mastery.

Hmm… did the team have any notable success that season?