Under-the-radar LB draft targets who could elevate the Eagles' shaky unit

We haven't mentioned the guys on this list often, but they could add value to the Eagles' linebacker corps if Philadelphia is interested.
Nathaniel Watson, Philadelphia Eagles draft
Nathaniel Watson, Philadelphia Eagles draft / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Andy Reid hasn't led the Philadelphia Eagles as their head coach since 2012. We've all discussed his brilliance, but other storylines accompany Big Red's tenure here. He never won a Super Bowl. He never seemed to acknowledge the importance of the linebacker position with any real consistency.

Time has passed. Philly has seen three head coaches and several coordinators since Big Red's coaching era. Each has opened a revolving door at the defense's second level. We haven't seen many efforts to close it.

Jim Schwartz didn't seem to value linebackers either. The same has been said occasionally about Howie Roseman.

Philly did make some additions at the position this offseaon. Devin White joined the nest as did Zack Baun and Julian Okwara. We'll see if Nakobe Dean can bounce back from injury.

The 2024 NFL Draft features talent as well. Might Philly look there to make upgrades?

If the Eagles want to add to their linebacker corps in the NFL Draft, they'll have options including a few that have flown under the radar.

Time flies, doesn't it? Can you believe it's almost draft time? Expect Birds fans to find their way in front of a television.

No one knows what Philly's game plan is. We all have made guesses, some include the selection of another linebacker. There's no shortage of talent in this class.

It has been reported that Philly scheduled a pre-draft visit with Texas A&M's Edgerrin Cooper. Lines have been drawn connecting the dots representing Philly and Clemson's Jeremiah Trotter Jr. The latter has piqued Birds fans' interest for obvious reasons. He's the son of a franchise legend.

Cooper may slide into Round 2 and be available, but there's no way Philly can land him if they don't invest early draft capital. Trotter has been given third-round grades. That's been consistent across the board.

Some of the other top prospects at the position include Payton Wilson (N.C. State), Marist Liufau (Notre Dame), and Cedric Gray (North Carolina). There are also the guys who played at smaller schools. Philly would be wise to do their due diligence. Here are some guys who have earned their mention.

They can help elevate Philly's linebacker corps as immediate contenders or practice squad players.

Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State

Nathaniel Watson was all over the place for Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay's Mississippi State Bulldogs last season. He stacked 137 stops, an interception, ten sacks, two forced fumbles, and two passes defended. Experts vary on his grade and where he should be selected.

Tyrice Knight, UTEP

Tyrice Knight racked up 140 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and six pass breakups in 2023. He could be a mid-round sleeper that gets drafted higher than people expect.

Dallas Gant, Toledo

A two-time First-Team All-MAC standout (2022, 2023), Dallas Gant began his career at Ohio State (2018–2021) before transferring to Toledo and stacking 232 tackles, an interception, a sack, seven pass breakups, and three forced fumbles over the past two seasons.

Jordan Magee, Temple

Jordan Magee earned Second-Team All-AAC honors in 2023 after racking up 80 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble during his final season at Temple. During four seasons there (40 games), he tallied 235 tackles, including 31 for a loss of yardage. Add that to eight tackles, an interception, ten pass breakups, two forced fumbles.

Jontrey Hunter, Georgia State

Jontrey Hunter makes sense for the Eagles as someone who can come in and compete for a spot on the scout team. He earned an invite to the Senior Bowl after stacking 95 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles last season.

Easton Gibbs, Wyoming

Here's a possibility for someone's practice squad or the bottom of their roster. Easton Gibbs did work for the Wyoming Cowboys in 2023, racking up 109 tackles, two sacks, an interception, and five pass breakups.

Darius Muasau, UCLA

Darius Muasau earned two First-Team All-Mountain West nods (2020, 2021) at Hawaii before transferring to UCLA for the 2022 season and earning Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2023. He earned defensive MVP honors in the 2020 New Mexico Bowl and defensive MVP honors in the 2023 LA Bowl.

Keep watch for him on Day 3.

Ty'Ron Hopper, Missouri

Ty'Ron Hopper probably would have been better suited to return to Missouri for another season. He chose instead to enter the selection meeting, so here we are, discussing his NCAA resume. He stacked 55 tackles, three sacks, and a trio of pass breakups during his final season at the collegiate level.

What are we thinking? Is this a Day 3 prospect?

Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

Who would have thought? Kentucky has shed its label of being simply a basketball school. Trevin Wallace is someone we might have mentioned more often during the pre-draft process had he played somewhere like Alabama or Georgia.

He is however battle-tested having played his college ball in the SEC. 80 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and one interception were the results of his efforts last season. He's explosive but also a tad undersized and raw.

Look for him to hear his name called at some point during the coming selection meeting. He and the other guys on this list would all make sense for our Philadelphia Eagles, but all would begin their careers as backups and special teamers with hopes to contribute more later.

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