As we work our way through the Eagles roster it’s clear training camp will be very interesting with the amount of position battles forming. Today we look at the Linebacker position. More so than any other position this group will look drastically different in 2016. With a scheme change brings a change in the type of player the Eagles now want. For the last 3 years the Eagles have been a 3/4 team. Moving forward they will go back to a traditional 4/3.
If the Eagles want to have a successful season or at least remain competitive through out the year, the Linebackers will need to stay healthy. In recent years the Eagles have struggled with injuries. Most notably Mychal Kendricks and second year pro Jordan Hicks. Hicks’ injury really hurt the 2015 defense. After a dominate first half he tore his pectoral muscle against Dallas and missed the rest of the year. Hicks goes into this year as the MLB. He will be calling plays and making sure everyone is lined up correctly. Joining Kendricks and Hicks in the starting lineup will be Nigel Bradham. Bradham is a 5th year pro from Florida State. Bradham comes from Buffalo where he made a nice impact as a reserve/role player. Following the starters there’s a lot to be desired. There will be a number of young guys vying for back up roles. Quentin Gause, Naaje Goode, Travis Long, Deontae Skinner, Myke Tavarres and Joe Walker will all be fighting for spots. The Eagles will keep 5-6 guys at LB with an eye on special teams. Of these reserves I will keep an eye on Naaje Goode, Deontae Skinner and Myke Tavarres.
Aside from Tavarres, these names should sound familiar. Naaje Goode has been a solid special teams performer and has filled in nicely with a spot start here and there, most notably in the 2014 season. Skinner is a guy they brought in last year after camp starter and he really turned heads. He’s got size and speed at 6’2 250 LBs. Given a chance he will make the 53. Tavarres is an undrafted rookie who the Eagles had solid draft grades on. It will be interesting to see how can handle the size and speed of the NFL coming from little known Incarnate Word.
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