For the next few weeks before the NFL Draft on April 23-25, we’ll be looking at some viable options for the Eagles and the No. 21 pick.
The Eagles don’t value the linebacker position as much as many other teams, but it’s fair to wonder if LSU’s Patrick Queen could change all that.
While it’s obviously unlikely that the Eagles simply buck a decades-long trend and take Queen in the first round, there’s a lot to like about the 6-foot, 229-pound linebacker.
There’s a reason why Queen could very well be the second linebacker off the board after expected-top-10 pick Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. Queen is the prototypical modern-day linebacker. He’s not big, but he’s super fast and also physical enough in the middle of the field and has the type of instincts any team would want from a three-down linebacker.
Queen was a full-time starter for the Tigers for just one season, but in that one season, he was tremendous. He had 85 tackles, 12 TFLs, 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups and an interception. And his athleticism jumps off the screen. He showed it off at the combine with a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and jumps of 35-inches and 125-inches.
Oh yeah, and Queen doesn’t even turn 21 until August, making him one of the youngest players in this draft. As he enters Year 5, he will have just turned 25.
Current roster at LB: With Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill leaving as free agents, the Eagles are very light at linebacker. They bring back Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley and Alex Singleton. They also added Jatavis Brown as a cheap free agent with some upside. But it’s certainly not like the Eagles have any studs at the position that would prevent them from drafting a linebacker with a premium pick.
How he would fit: Because they’re so light at the position, Queen would join the team and start from Day 1 and would probably be a three-down linebacker immediately too. The Eagles value athletic linebackers and Queen is an athletic linebacker with a solid resume.
Eagles history at LB in draft: Some folks will tell you the Eagles used their 1st-round pick on a linebacker in 2014, but Marcus Smith was an edge player and he doesn’t count. The last time the Eagles used their 1st-round pick on an inside linebacker was in 1979, when they took Jerry Robinson out of UCLA. That was also the last time they had the 21st pick.
Since 2016, when Howie Roseman came back into power, the Eagles have drafted just two linebackers: Nathan Gerry in the 5th round in 2017 and Joe Walker in the 7th round in 2016. Roseman doesn’t like putting top resources into the position.
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