Eagles training camp preview: Inside Linebackers

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Eagles' switch to the 3-4 may have a negative impact on the OLBs. However, it may actually benefit many of the Eagles' ILBs.

The Eagles may actually be strong at ILB this season. A player-by-player look:

Mychal Kendricks: When the Eagles drafted Mychal Kendricks, they drafted an undersized athletic freak. Here are Kendricks' measurables in comparison to all the other ILBs who have competed at the Combine since 1999:

Kendricks showed some good and bad in 2012, although like the rest of the team, probably a little more bad than good. That stats that stand out are 0 INTs and 0 FFs. With his elite athleticism, Kendricks should be a playmaker. We'll see if a year under his belt in the NFL will allow him to think less, and just react.

The switch from the 4-3 to a 3-4 may benefit Kendricks. At Cal, Kendricks was proficient when he blitzed. In fact, in 2010, he had 8.5 sacks. He will likely get more opportunities to go after the QB in Billy Davis' defense.

DeMeco Ryans: In his 2nd year with the Eagles, look for DeMeco to take on more of leadership role in training camp. Last season at this time, Ryans was still just getting to know his teammates. This year, he's more established. He's also one more year removed from his torn Achilles injury in 2010. Ryans is an interesting case in terms of a long term tenure in Philly. He is basically playing on consecutive 1-year contracts, as the Eagles will not incur a penalty if they choose to release him (click to enlarge):

Demeco_medium

I believe there's a misconception that DeMeco Ryans did not play well in the 3-4 in Houston. Ryans did indeed have a down year after the Texans moved to a 3-4, but that was probably due more in part to his recovery from his torn Achilles. He should be fine.

Jake Knott: Knott is an undrafted free agent, but he has been receiving reps with the 2's, and the team is very high on him. Knott is probably the most likely UDFA to make the team.

Jason Phillips: Phillips is primarily known as a good special teamer, and frankly, the more good special teamers, the better after last season's abysmal special teams units.

Jamar Chaney: Chaney was another athletic freak when the Eagles drafted him in 2010:

There was hope that Chaney would become a solid starter. That never materialized, because Jamar often lacked physicality. He is very much on the bubble heading into 2013.

Casey Matthews: Like Chaney, Matthews is another guy who was thought of by some as a future solid starter, but who is now a bubble player. Matthews does have some value on special teams, so that may be his route onto this team, a few years after he was all but handed a starting job as a rookie.

Emmanuel Acho: The Eagles shipped Dion Lewis out of town, and were able to bring in Acho in return. Acho was a former 6th round pick of the Browns, and may have an uphill climb to make the roster.

Previous training camp previews:

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski
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