The start of the 2020 Eagles season hasn’t been the greatest so far. After the 38-29 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they drop to 1-3-1. One thing that is showing up often is the linebacker’s inability to tackle the ball carrier. With this, I suggest looking at a star linebacker from the FCS.
Willie Eubanks III is a highly regarded linebacker from The Citadel. Built at 6’2 230-pounds, he is the leader of the Bulldogs defense with 112 total tackles in the 2019 season. He also has 63 solo tackles, which is roughly 52% of his own body of work stopping the defender. His tackling is firm and once he has a hold of an opponent he doesn’t let go often. With superb athleticism and range, he would boast the linebacking core almost instantly. In pass coverage, he is above average for a Mike linebacker. With his high football IQ, he can diagnose plays quickly and blow them up all the time.
The thing that sticks out about Eubanks is the level of competition being a non-factor for him. In 2019, he was outstanding in the Bulldogs upset win vs Georgia Tech. Regardless of what the stat sheet says, he was great in coverage that game. In 2018, he had a solid showing vs Alabama, who was the best team in FBS at the time with 4 total tackles. For this 2020 season, The Citadel had kept its schedule with South Florida, Clemson, Eastern Kentucky, and Army. These games were showcases for Eubanks, where he dominated vs South Florida with 12 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and a sack. The following week vs the number one ranked Clemson Tigers, he had another solid performance with 9 total tackles. Against Eastern Kentucky and Army, he also had some star-studded performances with a combined 22 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack.
Willie was the Southern Conference unanimous defensive player of the year in 2019, a Buck Buchanan Award Finalist (Best defensive player in FCS), AFCA, Associated Press, and Phil Steele Magazine 1st Team All-American in 2019. In the 2020 preseason, he received Athlon Sports First-Team All-American. It’s fair to say Willie Eubanks is one of the best players in the FCS and will receive scouts attention just like Darius Leonard did in the 2018 NFL draft season.
With the lack of overall depth in the Eagles linebacking core, I can see them drafting Willie, who has accumulated 249 tackles in his career in between the 6-7th round of the 2021 NFL draft. He would, in my opinion, be a smart addition to the team.