Concerns about the Eagles' linebacker corps that are expressed far too often

Philly showed more interest in upgrading the linebacker corps than in years past, but there hasn't been an outpouring of love about their upgrades.
Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles
Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Whenever we bring this up, we can never seem to agree on when the negligence began. When did the Philadelphia Eagles grow to despise the linebacker position? It's tough to nail down the exact date, isn't it?

Perhaps the easiest and shortest path to an answer lies in blaming Andy Reid. Oh come on! You know Big Red had no respect for the position. He got lucky with Jeremiah Trotter twice. And, he let him escape and play in Washington for two seasons.

Reid isn't the only culprit (we love you Andy, but it's true). Jim Schwartz strolled into town with the 'positionless players' thing. He didn't do much to elevate the defense's second level either.

Howie Roseman tends to ignore the unit too, but then again, he learned his style of roster building from Andy.

Hmmm... Maybe it is Big Red's fault!

While it may seem that we have complained about this for years, this offseason feels different. Howie promised Philly would be aggressive in adding good players to the roster. One of the areas he dedicated himself to improving was the linebacker corps. We deserve that. Especially since we have to watch a homegrown talent in T.J. Edwards continue to blossom in Chicago.

The Birds added Devin White, Oren Burks, and Zack Baun in free agency. Jeremiah Trotter Jr, the son of an Eagles legend, was added by way of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Still, there hasn't been an outpouring of love despite what many saw as a better attempt to improve the position. Here are three reasons why that seems to be the case.

Devin White's acquisition isn't guaranteed to be a success.

Devin White didn't experience James Bradberry's level of regression last season. Then again, maybe he did. He went from being one of the best players on the field during a Super Bowl win to being benched during a playoff game last season.

We realize this was the 2019 NFL Draft's fifth-overall selection, right? We believe in him. We believe you should too. The resume is impressive: 2019 Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team nod, 2020 Second-Team All-Pro, and a Pro Bowl nod in 2021.

Perhaps you have noticed though. All of that was a long time ago. None of that has any bearing on the coming season.

We won't lie there's some 'boom or bust' potential with Mr. White. If he 'booms' however this could be fun to watch.

Much of Eagles Nation has already given up on Nakobe Dean.

We aren't as harsh as some of you. We won't call someone a bust if he's a victim of injury. That isn't Nakobe Dean's full story, but it's certainly a big part of it.

He closed a nice close to his career at Georgia by winning the Butkus Award and being named a Unanimous All-American on his way to a College Football Playoff National Championship Game win. Things turned. He was invited to Las Vegas for the 2022 NFL Draft as an expected first-round selection, but a rumored injury that went unreported became part of the reason he'd still be on the board in Round 3.

Philly took him 83rd overall. He sat for most of his rookie campaign, playing almost exclusively on special teams. Two trips to the injured reserve last season halted the next step in his journey, but here's our bold prediction. Philly earns a decent boost from him this season.

Never count out a competitor. While we realize many of you have counted Dean out, we see a slow start that ultimately leads to an awesome story.

If Jeremiah Trotter is so good, why was he still available during the NFL Draft in Round 5?

The tale is storybook. The son of an Eagles legend is drafted to play in the city his father became a legend in. Jeremiah Trotter Jr is an Eagle! How cool is that?

Now, there are legitimate conversations worth having. It's fair to ask a few questions. What if he doesn't live up to the hype? If he's so good, why was he passed on in the NFL Draft until Round 5?

The truth is Junior Axe Man isn't quite polished yet. He isn't ready to start in the NFL yet. We won't knock him for that. This is football's highest level, and he's a rookie. Give him time. With coaching, we expect he will be fine.

Here are a few nuggets that are also worth mentioning.

ESPN's Michael Clay labeled the Eagles' linebacker unit 30th among all NFL teams in his 2024 projections. Only the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans ranked lower. NBC Sports Philly's Dave Zangaro lists them as the third largest concern on the team's roster. That doesn't sound like much of an endorsement.

Truthfully, we think this works out. Dean will be one of Philly's breakout stars this season. You'll see. Sure, we haven't seen much to support that claim. Just call it a hunch. That brings us to the other guys.

White's time in Tampa didn't end on a high note, but we believe the change of scene will do him some good. As far as Zack Baun and Oren Burks are concerned, they're key additions that will flourish as role players.

Trot Jr. is already a fan favorite for obvious reasons. Sure, he's a fifth-rounder, but there's something there. He wouldn't have been named a 2022 Second-Team All-American and a First-team All-ACC nod in 2023 had there not been.

He won't step into a huge role immediately, but there's hope he will at some point. He's under the tutelage of Vic Fangio now, so there is potential for growth. Let's hope Philly allows a sufficient amount of time for him to achieve such.

Read more Eagles news and notes