The Eagles could use an upgrade at middle linebacker.
While many mock drafters have the Eagles using their first round pick on said position, the team does have the option of upgrading free agency. Then again, they also have the option of letting another offseason go by with a blind eye on one of their most pressing needs.
But if the Eagles do use free agency to address inside linebacker, then the following information might be useful.
Pro Football Focus is a fancy website that does fancy things, with their complex numbers, statistics and formulas used for the purposes of player evaluation.
So while I don’t understand a damn thing about their +20.8 grade of Detroit middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, I do know that it’s good.
Here’s what they had to say about the 27-year-old Tulloch.
We were stunned at how small the market was for one of the league’s best inside linebackers in the 2011 offseason. The Lions were able to snag him for a mere $3.25 million, but there’s slim chance they’ll be so lucky again. Tulloch is just a great all-around player, as adept in coverage as he is against the run. While he doesn’t grade out quite as well as some of the top players, it is worth bearing in mind he plays in the very publicized Wide-9 scheme that puts extra pressure on the linebackers.
Wait a second. A linebacker that excels in the Wide-9 scheme? Is that something you might be interested in?
If the Eagles can’t get their hands on Tulloch (which would be weak), then PFF’s other top players at the position include the likes of David Hawthorne, London Fletcher, Curtis Lofton and D’Qwell Jackson.
Oh, and former Eagle Joe Mays check in on their list at number seven.
Here’s what they had to say about Mays:
blockquote>It’s amazing how far Mays has come since entering the league in 2008 as a sixth round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles. He showed some potential in the 2009 preseason before being traded to Denver for running back JJ Arrington or a sixth-round pick. At the time, it looked like a good deal for the Eagles, but this is another Josh McDaniels move that turned out to favor the Broncos. Mays became an integral part of Denver’s defense this year and put more heralded teammate DJ Williams to shame with his play against the run. Just as promising, he wasn’t a liability in coverage, grading out right about average.
J.J. Arrington? Jesus.