• November 28, 2022

2011 Eagles’ Offseason Need: Strongside Linebacker

I’m not ready to concede that Moise Fokou is the long term answer for the starting SAM linebacker spot.  He’s not a bad player and has proven he can be productive when called upon.

The problem is I don’t think he’s has that high of a ceiling.  If that’s the case, the Eagles need to find someone to make Fokou a quality backup.  Some people believe that person could very well be Stewart Bradley (this was his position at Nebraska).

The Eagles have had a need at this position ever since Carlos Emmons left for the Giants early 2004.  It’s difficult to find a linebacker Emmons size (6’5”, 245lbs) who isn’t better suited for a 3-4 defense (i.e.- Chris Gocong and Ricky Sapp)

This offseason the Eagles still have a need at the SAM linebacker.  The question is: Will they pursue someone and if so, who?

Potential free agents

  1. Derrick Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs): I wanted the Eagles to pursue Johnson this past offseason.  Unfortunately, the CBA rules kept him restricted.  Johnson lost his starting spot during the Chiefs 2009 transition to a 3-4 defense.  It seems that he settled in a lot better this year, but I think he’d still be a better 4-3 linebacker than he is in the 3-4.
  2. Thomas Howard (Oakland Raiders): Although Howard is a WILL linebacker in Oakland, he could fit in at the SAM position in Philly.  He currently is a backup on the Raiders’ depth chart.  A change of scenery may be needed.

Draft prospects

  1. Kelvin Sheppard (LSU):  Sheppard is the best collegiate prospect for this position.  He has the size and ability to effective cover tight ends and running backs.
  2. Kenneth Wright (Mississippi St.): Wright isn’t rated as high as Sheppard, but he’s better at block shedding and pass coverage.  Currently a mid round prospect, it’s noted that he’s easy to coach and has high character.  Sounds like an ideal Eagles’ candidate to me.

Colin McCarthy (Miami):  McCarthy is known more for his work ethic than raw athleticism.  He missed most of 2008 due to a shoulder injury and was awarded a medical hardship.  He seems to have bounced back from that, winning his team’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2009

Haran Knight

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January 14, 2011 9:01 am

Stewart Bradley is an ideal SAM linebacker. He’s out of position at MIKE but he played it because he was out best MIKE. His greatest strength is in pass coverage, plus he has the size, speed and coverage ability to match well with the better tight ends in the league.

January 14, 2011 9:14 am

derrick johnson signed an extension with the chiefs earlier in the season.

January 14, 2011 9:44 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing cheny in the middle next to bradley in the preseason to see how that group would look together, of course we’ll prob have a new weak side backer next year too. If the packers let go of nick barnett I would love to pick him up and plug him in the middle and move bradley over.

January 14, 2011 10:48 am

I could live with Fokou at WILL for a year….the guy I would target at SAM would be Chad Greenway. I’d keep Bradley in the middle for now and give him another year to stay healthy/improve.

I’d also give a long look at David Harris from the Jets. Not sure if he would fit into a 4-3 MIKE, but if he could, then you could move Bradley to SAM.

Having said all that, Thomas Davis from Carolina is coming off 2 ACLs injuries so you’re looking at your next OLB.

January 14, 2011 11:28 am

I agree G and have stated for 2 years that Bradley would be much more effective at the SAM position
but as you stated, Bradley was also the best MLB on the team which is where he was needed

Here’s a few Free-Agents who are in their Primes of their Careers and have not had any major injuries that I am aware of who would be worth a strong look by the Eagles

#1) Chad Greenway (Vikings- 6-2″ 240lbs and 28 years old)
#2) James Anderson (Panthers- 6-2″ 235lbs and 27 years old)
#3) Kevin Burnett (Chargers- 6-3″ 240 lbs & 28 years old)
#4) Steve Tulloch (Titans – 6-0″ 240 lbs & 26 years old
#5) Will Herring (Seahawks – 6-3″-240 lbs & 27 years old)

In the Draft there are some very good ones who are projected to be mid-late 1st Rd Selections..
#1) Von Miller – Texas A&M 6-3″ – 240 lbs
#2) Akeem Ayers – UCLA 6-4 -250 lbs
#3) Justin Houston – Georgia 6-3 250 lbs

January 14, 2011 12:27 pm

Like Stew at SLB but we still need to draft heavy at this poistion (no depth at this position unless we are counting on Sapp and Foiku (sp) to provide quality snaps if Stew can’t stay healthy. The wasted picks ( great post btw) are why we are discussing this as a weakness. Greenway has to be brought in and he, Chaney and Stew would be an upgrade over Sims (did he look at film ever), Stew, and Foiku.

The position has to be looked at with new eyes because Shuey’s background, btw has anybody noticed how he became a linebacker coach.


Everything needs to be reviewed with regard to the Linebacker position on this defense.

January 14, 2011 6:11 pm

plus we need more LB if we ever go to a 3-4