The upgrade began just days before free agency began when the Eagles signed Haason Reddick.
Then came Kyzir White.
The draft landed Nakobe Dean and Kyron Johnson.
Voila, linebackers suddenly became an on-paper strength.
It would be easy to overlook one of those linebackers returning.
That is T.J. Edwards.
He isn’t overlooked here, however.
About to enter his fourth season after going undrafted out of the University of Wisconsin, Edwards lands at No. 17 in our countdown of the top 25 players on the roster.
SI’s Eagles Today put together its top 25 list with site publisher Ed Kracz and staff writer John McMullen putting together their top 25 lists independent of each other’s and then assigned point values, with 25 points awarded to the player ranked first on each list, 24 to the player ranked second, and so on, with one point going to the player that was put 25th.
The highest ranking from either reporter broke any ties in the balloting.
Edwards finished higher on McMullen’s list, checking in at No. 13.
Kracz had Edwards at No. 18.
Either way, Edwards figures to be a key piece to defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s defense this season.
He became a full-time starter at middle linebacker roughly halfway through last season and never looked back, finishing second on the team in tackles with 125 behind only fellow linebacker Alex Singleton.
Over the final seven games, Edwards was the team’s leading tackler four times including back-to-back games against the Giants on Dec. 26 (16 tackles) and Commanders on Jan. 2 (13 tackles).
The 16 tackles are his career-high. He also added a sack and an interception in 2021.
Despite being just 25 years old, Edwards is the longest-tenured Eagles linebacker.
Asked during OTAs if he felt like the leader in the room, he said “I definitely want to be that. I want to use my voice as much as I can. I think I’m a guy who’s seen a good amount, a couple of years in this scheme and obviously being around the building, kind of know the ins and outs and being able to relay that.
“Really I just want to pass along what I’ve seen and be a sponge myself, too. I want to learn from guys like Kyzir and the coaches giving us new looks, so I want to be a sponge and gain my knowledge, too.”
Edwards doesn’t have to think back very long to when he was the one trying to climb the depth chart.
“I was undrafted and I was like ninth on the depth chart,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where I don’t think it (the chip on his shoulder) will ever leave, but I definitely feel a lot more confident this year and ready to take that next step.”
Now, he's one of the top players on the team.
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR
No. 25 – Jack Driscoll
No. 24 – Derek Barnett
No. 23 – Kyzir White
No. 22 - Quez Watkins
No. 21 – Jake Elliott
No. 20 – Isaac Seumalo
No. 19 – James Bradberry
No. 18 - Jordan Davis
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.