Will the Philadelphia Eagles get help from their linebackers?
It’d be unfair to say that T.J. Edwards and Alex Singleton are role players at this point. They’ve proven they can be solid starters and make plays. The rookie on the other hand will have to make the most of their snaps. Shaun Bradley is likely going to be used on downs where the Eagles expect a run. Earlier this year, he stuffed James Conner at the one-yard line to prevent a touchdown. At Temple, he was a ferocious tackler and was always around the ball making plays. It’s why he earned the honor of wearing one of the ‘Temple Tuff’ single-digit uniform numbers.
In the second half, the Eagles will face the Cleveland Browns with Kevan Stefanski’s lethal run game and some star running backs including Aaron Jones and Ezekiel Elliott. Jim Schwartz will stack the box. He’s done it in the past. Bradley will likely be one of those guys in the box at times. If he can play a small part in shutting down an opponent’s run game, it could go a long way. Keep an eye on him on special teams too.
The other rookie linebacker, Davion Taylor, has played just 11 defensive snaps this season. The 22-year-old put up three tackles in those snaps and made a big tackle on special teams versus Dallas. Most linebackers who were picked in the middle rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft have had a decent amount of playing time. Taylor is a bit different since he did not get much experience in games in high school and early in college. His religious beliefs required him not to play on certain days but he could practice with the team. During his college career, he got the ok from his mom.
The Philadelphia Eagles want to make sure he is ready before they give him significant snaps. That’s understandable but he’s a third-round pick. He needs to get thrown into the fire and learn from his mistakes. After watching Nate Gerry and Duke Riley make costly mistakes, it’s hard to believe Taylor could be much worse. He’s got the physical build and attributes. Now, it’s time to develop his technique and enhance his football IQ. Even if he doesn’t end up playing much on defense, he’s often getting down the field quickly on kicks and punts. That can help this team win the field position battle.