Finding a Stud LB and Complementary RB Should be on Eagles To-Do List

New coaching staff needs to evaluate if Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards are good enough at linebacker while understanding that Miles Sanders can't do it alone at RB
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Linebackers and running backs.

That’s what keeps coming back to me now, just days after Tampa Bay bested Kansas City in a boring blowout, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV.

The victory was more about those two positions than it was Tom Brady, who won Super Bowl MVP honors because picking the winning QB is always the easy choice.

The Bucs’ defense carved up a patchwork Chiefs offensive line and, yes, that was part of it, too. Their linebackers, though…lights out.

Devin White had a game-high 12 tackles with an end-zone interception late in the game to snuff out Kansas City’s final hope at scoring at least one touchdown in the big game.

Lavonte David was, as he always is, tough to block and difficult to throw against, perhaps the best cover LB in the league.

In a copycat league, and with a new coaching staff with fresh ideas and new schemes landing in Philadelphia, it makes one wonder if that position will take on more value in the eyes of the front office, specifically Eagles GM Howie Roseman.

Then there are the running backs.

Remember when former coach Doug Pederson sold us on the idea of a running back by committee approach then went out and won a Super Bowl with that approach?

For whatever reason, the Eagles strayed from that philosophy in 2020, believing that Miles Sanders can be a three-down back. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t need help carrying the load, especially after injuries played havoc with his season.

The Bucs, meanwhile, hammered away at the Chiefs’ defense with the battering ram duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. Fournette had 89 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown and 46 yards on four catches while Jones ran for 61 yards on 12 carries.

In the Eagles 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, LeGarrette Blount had 90 yards and a touchdown on 14 runs while Jay Ajayi went for 57 yards on nine carries.

Also, in that SB, linebacker Nigel Bradham had seven tackles, third-most that day behind Jalen Mills’ nine and Corey Graham’s eight.

Linebackers and running backs.

Can the Eagles make a Super Bowl with Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards at linebacker?

That’s the question Nick Sirianni and defensive coordinator Johnathan Gannon have to ask themselves when evaluating the talent on hand.

They need to get answers on two players taken in last year’s draft, Davion Taylor in the third round and Shaun Bradley in the sixth round.

The Bucs spent the fifth overall pick on White and grabbed David in the second round of the 2012 draft, the 58th player taken overall.

The Eagles don't have that kind of pedigree, but there are players in the draft who might have it, starting with Penn State's Micah Parsons.

It's unlikely the Eagles take Parsons, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t look to take a linebacker on the second day of the draft.

Some day-two targets could be North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt, Tulsa Zaven Collins, Missouri’s Nick Bolton, LSU's Jabril Cox, Alabama's Dylan Moses, or Texas’s Joseph Ossai. 

As for running backs, the Eagles took Jalen Hurts last spring and passed on J.K. Dobbins, who went two picks after Hurts and ran for 805 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie.

Imagine him and Sanders in the same backfield.

So, maybe the Eagles find a running back in the draft, though it wouldn’t come early.

It would be anybody’s guess at this point who it could be, but they need to find somebody to complement Sanders.

Both Bucs’ runners were high draft picks. Fournette went fourth overall in 2017 to Jacksonville, which cut him last August then was signed by Tampa, and Ronald Jones, who was a second-round pick, 38th overall, in 2018.

Sanders, of course, came in the second round of 2019, so maybe the Eagles take an early dip at that position.

Linebackers and running backs.

The Eagles should have a Help Wanted sign outside the NovaCare Complex for those positions.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.