Why a Little Nepotism this Off Season may Help a Suddenly Struggling Eagles Franchise

Clemson Notre Dame Football

Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (54) during the 4th quarter Saturday, November 4, 2023 at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. Bart Boatwright/The Clemson Insider

Although the Eagles got off to a fantastic start this year, their struggles of late can be attributed to a multitude of issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, their head coach’s inability and or unwillingness to change his play calling this year (which is an article for another day) to a much more deep-rooted problem that has been going on now for decades of which I would like to discuss in this article.

For far too long, the Philadelphia Eagles have been known to draft from a position of WANT rather than from a position of NEED. This, of course, has been the case since the days when both Andy Reid and Jim Johnson were patrolling the Eagles sidelines. When all the team ever seemed to want to do back then was draft offensive and defensive linemen.

To date, little has changed. The line here in Philly is still a position of extreme depth, while other areas on the field continue to be exploited by the opposition year after year. In saying that, I do feel the Eagles’ current General Manager, Howie Roseman, has done a better job than his predecessors in the way of acquiring offensive weapons, especially when it comes to making trades to aid his still young and developing quarterback.

However, recently, all Howie seems to be enamored by in the draft is those darn Georgia Bulldogs. Who could blame him, though, right? This fascination, of course, started when Howie decided to select Georgia’s 6’6, 336-pound defensive lineman Jordan Davis with the team’s first-round pick in 2022—a player who seems to possess herculean-like strength. Roseman then followed it up by taking Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round that same year, who had just won the NCAA’s Butkus Award for being the Nation’s best linebacker but who has struggled to stay healthy ever since.

With those two already in the nest, I guess it seemed almost like fate when Georgia’s defensive lineman Jalen Carter fell to them at ninth overall in 2023. Not to mention, fellow Bulldog Nolan Smith (the most athletic linebacker in the draft that year) somehow still being there at 30 when the team was due to make their second selection of the first round. But as if that wasn’t enough dogs to feed, Howie decided to go back to the pound again when he dialed that oh-so-familiar 706 area code in the fourth round when he took Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo with the one hundred and fifth overall pick.

Now, I don’t know about you, but besides Jalen Carter being able to accumulate six sacks this year, no other Georgia Bulldog on the defensive side of the ball that the team has drafted has shown me anything besides a couple of flashes here and there to make me think they may be one day worth their inflated draft stock.

That’s why this off-season, I would urge Howie to choke down his impulses of drafting another player from Athens and instead focus on selecting players who could sure up some glaring holes on this team’s depth charts.

And to me, a large majority of those holes would be on the defensive side of the ball. As previously stated, the Eagles’ defensive line is one of the league’s best. Still, once you get beyond that, the only person in the Eagles’ secondary that remotely scares the opposition now is safety Reed Blankenship. Therefore, Philadelphia would be wise to try and go after a shutdown corner like Terrion Arnold from Alabama with their first-round selection. Terrion, who is 6’0 and 196 pounds, had 63 tackles, one sack, 12 pass deflections, five interceptions, and a forced fumble this season, would be welcomed attention to an ever-aging CB core that a 33-year-old Darius Slay and a 30-year-old James Bradberry are currently leading.

In the second round, it could all come together, though. For far too long, the Eagles have devalued the linebacker position as a whole, which baffles me, considering they are often the players that accumulate the most tackles during any given season because they are the next line of defense after the D-line breaks down.

Think about it: in the NFC East alone during the last decade, the Eagles have had to face elite running backs like Alfred Morris, DeMarco Murray, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Adrian Peterson each lining up across from them multiple times a year where the outcome, unfortunately almost always ended up being that these running backs were able to amass a 100-yard game on the Eagles.

Now, as good as Hassan Reddick is, his job as a strong-side linebacker is to get in the backfield and go after the quarterback the majority of the time. But we need a player up the middle with that DOG in him. A guy who will be able to spot a running back about to burst through the line and drive him so hard into the ground that when he gets up, he looks dazed and confused and asks did anybody happen to see the plate number of that bus that just hit me?

And the last guy I think the Eagles had like that was Jeremiah Trotter who last played for Philadelphia some 15 years ago.

Lucky for the Eagles, though, they have a chance to draft The Axe Man’s protégé Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Yes, a true NFL legacy, who, like his dad, plays the MLB position. So well, in fact, that over the last three seasons for the Clemson Tigers Jr. has been credited with 202 tackles, 29.5 of which were for loss, 13 sacks, 13 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and four interceptions (including two that were returned for touchdowns).

Now, if you watched these highlight videos provided above, you would have noticed a lot of similarities between both father and son’s games. But where Trotter 2.0’s game differs a bit from his old man’s is that he is a little more agile, which makes sense considering that he weighs in at around 230, whereas his dad played closer to 260 pounds.

I assure you, though this does not hinder Jr’s abilities, it only helps. Where his dad may have needed the extra weight, seeing he played back in a more ground-and-pound time, Jr. benefits from being a bit sleeker because teams have become more pass-happy as of late. So, being that he is lighter, Jr. has shown the ability to run step for step with slot receivers and tight ends at the colligate ranks.

That’s why if the Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is somehow able to resist the urge to draft more Bulldogs this off-season and instead allow for a bit of nepotism by drafting the offspring of an Eagles legend, I think he could help restore a lot of confidence next year to a very talented team that has somehow seemed to lose their way during the second half of this season.

Lance Green

I’m a lifelong Flyers fan who has been playing the sport of Ice Hockey we all know and love competitively for over 30 years now. I grew up playing in-between the pipes where I was able to take in the whole game and analysis just what the team needed to do to help us win. Over the years I always enjoyed reading and gaining as much knowledge as possible about this great sport, but always thought it lacked something. A players prospective!