With everything that went wrong with the Eagles in 2019, whether it be watching Nelson Agholor struggle catching the ball, Alshon Jeffrey and Desean Jackson struggle with injuries, Wentz struggling finding consistency early in the year and losing to the Seahawks in the Wild Card round, one thing eagles fan should feel good about is how well the Eagles defense played throughout the year. The Philadelphia Eagles finished the 2019 season top 3 in rush defense and top 10 in total defense despite all of the injuries and struggles the team faced throughout the year.
Despite finishing the year top 10 in total defense, noticeable players that are regular contributors on the Eagles defense had down years in terms of their usual and expected production such as Nigel Bradham finishing the season with only 61 total tackles, Timmy Jerrigan finishing with only 10 tackles and 2 sacks, Fletcher Cox finishing the year with only 3 sacks and a wild card player on that defense in T.J. Edwards only logging 22 total tackles on the year in 16 total games. Although key players on the defense failed to meet expectations, a guy who I think really stepped up was Nathan Gerry who had to transition from safety to weak side linebacker and did a fantastic job doing so finishing the year with 72 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 tackles for loss and 2 picks.
Despite Gerry stepping up in a big way in 2019, and Nigel Bradham still being a very solid player despite his down season, I think the Eagles should strongly consider adding another linebacker in the off-season, and I think having Kenneth Murray fall into their lap at 21 would be a great scenario for them. Kenneth Murray, a 6’2, 237 pound linebacker from Oklahoma is an absolute baller and a fantastic athlete. Murray finished the 2019 season with 69 solo tackles, 33 assisted, 102 total, 4 sacks and an incredible 17 tackles for loss! Kenneth Murray is a fast, quick, twitch athlete that go chase you down sideline to sideline with his good instincts and great closing speed when chasing the ball carrier and will come in on a line and bring down the ball carrier with force which I love. Murray is the prototypical linebacker in today’s game because of his speed and athletic ability, but what I love also about him is his constant energy and effort that’s given from him on every play, and he plays with passion and it shows when he makes a big play and I love to see that from any player.
Murray’s athleticism and speed also allows him to be very effective in coverage with his ability to move with fluidity and quickness in space and can even cover backs coming out of the backfield as well as drop in zone, which is what the Eagles desperately need as they finished near the bottom of the league in pass defense in 2019. Murray can also line up on the edge and get after the quarterback on situational downs when Schwartz dials up some of those exotic blitzes he likes to call.
When Goodell puts the Eagles on the clock come April, and Kenneth Murray is still on the board, I think the Eagles should strongly consider taking him with the 21st selection. Murray is a fast, physical, quick twitch athlete who has a great motor and plays with energy and passion and I think the combination of a solid player in Nigel Bradham, Nathan Gerry who balled out last year and a versatile, physical player in Murray would make for a very solid core for the back end of that Eagles front seven.