State of the Eagles linebackers after releasing LB Mychal Kendricks
22 May 2018 Eagles News
After releasing linebacker Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles have a bit of a conundrum on their hands. In other linebacker news, the Eagles have lost linebacker Paul Worrilow after he tore his ACL during the teams’ first OTA session. This leaves the Eagles with just eight linebackers on their preliminary roster and those players are; Jordan Hicks, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Corey Nelson, Nigel Bradham, LaRoy Reynolds, Asantay Brown, Joe Walker, and Nate Gerry.
Let’s first start off with the two solidified starters which are Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham. If we were to set up the Eagles linebackers in tiers, this is their tier one. Although what might concern them here is that Hicks is coming off of a pretty serious injury. There’s a lot of question marks with Hicks going into the season, which shouldn’t leave the Eagles too comfortable. Bradham, on the other hand, is a sure-fire playmaker who is always around the ball making plays. He is a big part of the culture shift on the Eagles defense and although he does not always get the credit he deserves from the media, the Eagles are very grateful to have Bradham on the roster.
The next players in this room that need to be highlighted are Corey Nelson, Joe Walker, and Kamu Grugier-Hill. Let’s start with Walker and Grugier-Hill. Like Hicks, Walker is coming off of an injury, but he was very solid filling in for the injured Hicks before he himself left the team for the season. Walker has fully recovered and unlike Hicks injury, Walker’s will not affect his speed and driving ability. Walker has shown he can contribute and is a nice player to have ready to rotate. Nelson is an intriguing player because he was supposedly offered an opportunity to start when he signed. He was making waves with the Broncos, but a change of scenario with the Eagles might be the move he needed to take to take him to the next tier of defensive talent. Both Walker and Nelson are going to be competing for the starting role relinquished by Kendricks when he was released. Grugier-Hill is always going to be a team-first guy, which is a valuable trait. Although he won’t likely start, he’s always ready to fill in, fly down the field on special teams and even kick.
The last group of players left is Nate Gerry, LaRoy Reynolds, and Asantay Brown. All three of these players are a little safer now that Kendricks is released and Worrilow is out for the season. Gerry actually played a little in the playoffs for the Eagles defense as well as special teams, he’ll be around again. As for the other two, expect them to be more of special teams guys with a chance of playing due to lack of depth.
Are the Eagles going to add another linebacker? It is possible, but their core right now is actually pretty solid. It also allows them to get a little more creative with their packages and moving safety Malcolm Jenkins around, which he likes to do. All in all, it is not as bad as it seems, but going forward, make sure to keep an eye on this group.
Photo Credit: Lori M. Nichols | For NJ.com