After we seemed to wait and wait for the Eagles to sign a free agent linebacker, the team decided to go another direction, acquiring DeMeco Ryans via trade.
The Eagles gave up their fourth-round selection and swapped third-round selections with the Texans in order to pick up Ryans.
Unlike last season, the draft would be used to address needs to that were not addressed during free agency. Regardless, it was quite obvious that the Eagles need to get some new blood at the linebacker position.
Many Eagles fans had their eyes on Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. He was a popular fit in mock drafts early on, but after a strong Combine, there was a lot of concern about Kuechly being off the board by the time the Eagles pick came up.
The talks of acquiring Kuechly seemed to fade a bit after the Combine as many thought the Eagles may try to target a defensive lineman.
Although Kuechly looks to be a special player, it seems like talks of the Eagles picking him up in the first-round may die after trading for Ryans.
The 27 year old linebacker has a much more impressive resume than any other current Eagles linebacker. He is a former rookie of the year winner and two-time Pro Bowl selection.
An injury cut his 2010 season short and a change in the defensive scheme limited his time on the field in 2011 which resulted in a drop in his numbers.
However, in his first four seasons with the Texans, Ryans recorded at least 110 tackles and was a bright young player. If he is fully healthy, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to get back into this form as he is a great fit for the Eagles defensive scheme.
Adding Ryans to the roster doesn’t solve all of the Eagles problems at the linebacker position but it sure is a big step in the right direction.
I still believe the Eagles need to look to the draft to add another linebacker, and I think this should still be somewhere in the first three rounds. Adding Ryans takes the pressure off of adding a linebacker with a top selection, but I’d still like to see them bring in another player who can contribute no later than the third round.