On Monday, the Eagles decided to make a change to the team's inside linebacker depth, bringing in new blood to one of the squad's stronger positions. The team was awarded second-year inside linebacker Najee Goode off of waivers and waived fellow inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho. This move came as a shock to most of the Philadelphia media and fans, due to Acho's success in the preseason.
Chip Kelly, since taking over as head coach, has put a major emphasis on special teams. The move to acquire Goode and let go of Acho, was a decision that was likely driven by special teams. Goode, who played for West Virginia University, excelled at special teams throughout his college career. While Acho impressed on defense, his play on special teams was not up to par.
Goode comes to Philadelphia after one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was drafted in the fifth-round of last year's draft and played in just three games as a rookie. According to Pro Football Focus, Goode played just three snaps on defense and failed to register any statistics.
Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Goode was a two-year starter and a special teams standout at West Virginia. A linebacker and quarterback coming out high school, Goode was red-shirted in his first year on campus. In his freshmen season, Goode played mostly special teams in 13 games with the Mountaineers. He was finished with his first season with 12 tackles and an interception. In his sophomore year, Goode had similar production with 11 tackles and two pass breakups, while still maintaining his role on special teams.
Goode became a full-time starter as a junior and really took advantage of his extra playing time on defense as the SAM linebacker. The 2010 season saw Goode collect 47 tackles (8.5 for loss), three sacks, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Goode saved his best for last in his senior year, as he moved from SAM to MIKE linebacker. In his final season at WVU, the 6-foot and 244-pound Cleveland, Ohio native accounted for 87 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks and a forced fumble. The Team Captain also continued to play a big role on special teams.
The Eagles will likely use Goode mostly on special teams. Due to his lack of ideal size, he is probably best fit for the thumper inside linebacker role in the Eagles' 3-4 defense. He is a very solid tackler, which will be a welcomed attribute for the Eagles and their fans.