Now that our season is pretty much over I expect a lot of our great fans here at BGN will start talking about our Super Bowl next April. Clearly Linebacker is our biggest need. It's a position that needs a guy who can change the mentality of the defense. Zach Brown and Dont'a Hightower are the two guys I decided to profile. Hightower is one of my favorite linebackers in the upcoming class and Brown is one of the most popular on the early Eagles mock boards.
Zach Brown LB UNC- Brown is a senior outside linebacker at North Carolina. At 6'2 230 he is a little bit undersized but he makes up for it with mid 4.4 speed. He reminds me of a little taller Brian Rolle. Both are very quick outside linebacker with Brian Rolle a little big stronger. I watched some tape on Brown and I saw a player that is easily blocked. Fullbacks and tight ends in the running game. Most of the tackles he has made on film, the runner seems to always drive Brown forward for that extra hard. His speed allows him to be more effective in coverage but the Eagles have pleny of guys like that(Clayton, Chaney, Rolle, Fokou). Brown is projected as a top 10 or 15 pick. I see a player that isn't much of an upgrade over our current outside linebackers
Dont'a Hightower- The anti-Zach Brown. Hightower is a very physical linebacker at 6'4 260. He doesn't have the 4.4 speed that Brown has but is excellent in run support. I watched the tape of the Auburn game last season and saw Hightower chase down Cam Newton from behind and make solid tackels by himself against a very tough Newton. He isn't great in pass coverage but he has room to get better. He played a lot of outside linebacker in the 3-4 but should project as a 4-3 MLB. He can also lineup as a pass rush similar to Von Miller. Really good burst off the line as a pass rusher and can fight through traffic to make plays. Flat out mean tackler, in a good way. Eagles need a defender that offenses should actually be afraid of. Think Suh at MIKE without the stomping. Drafting Hightower would allow the Eagles to move Chaney back to the outside and keep Rolle on the weakside. Hightower is the type of linebacker that can play behind the Wide 9. He isnt an easy target in the running game for linemen. He keeps moving and is pretty quick and strong. He will knock guards and centers ont heir butts. Hightower projects as a late first round pick but with a good showing at the combine he could move up close to the Eagles first round pick which should be in the early teens. The Eagles would still have two 2nd round picks to play with, most likely in the top 10 or 12 in the 2nd. They could draft a playmaking WR if DeSean leaves town.