The Eagles are likely to search for an upgrade in the pass rush department. While Trent Cole finished last season strong and Connor Barwin was very solid in his role of a jack-of-all-trades, the Eagles need more push in pressuring quarterbacks. Philadelphia could look to add a pass rusher in the offseason from the draft in May, but they could also go the free agency route.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen could be an option for the Eagles. While he is not a natural outside linebacker, he is a talented pass rusher with the athleticism and speed to cover and rush standing up. If the Eagles believe that he can play in a two-point stance, Griffen could be a huge bargain for the Eagles, after he spent four years backing up Jared Allen.
A fourth round pick out of USC, Griffen was a bit of project for the Vikings. At 6-foot-4 and 273 pounds, Griffen ran a 4.65 at the 2010 Combine. In his first season, Griffen was barely used and collected 11 tackles in 11 games. In his second season, he spent the year behind Jared Allen but had 21 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 16 games.
In his third season, Griffen had a career year with 26 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He followed that up with 27 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 16 games this past season. All of these accomplishments came in relief of Allen and Brian Robison.
Appeal to Eagles
Griffen is still young at 26 and has very little tread on his tires. While he has not played a ton of linebacker, he has the athletic ability to do so. He had a 7.25 second 3-cone drill at the Combine, which shows the ability to change direction well and smooth hips, so playing in space should not be an issue. The Vikings tried to use him as 4-3 SAM linebacker and that failed because he is not built for that position. However, as a weakside pass rushing outside linebacker, he could thrive.
He is a tall player, which Billy Davis and Chip Kelly love. He is also not a seasoned starter, so he could be a cheaper buy for the team. He may be seeking a four or five-year deal, which the Eagles could easily accomplish without setting themselves up for failure.
Appeal to Griffen
Griffen is ready to start and signing with the Eagles gives him that opportunity. He will have the ability to move around in the defense and get a pretty broad role in the defense. Davis seems like the type of coordinator that will allow Griffen to attack and that's likely what he wants to do after spending four years on the bench. He could also get a pretty big deal from the Eagles, who have plenty of cap space.
If the Eagles are willing to take a risk on an unreal athlete to play a foreign position, they could go after Griffen pretty hard.
If Griffen is willing to bet on himself in a new defense and isn't blown away by anyone on the market, the Eagles could have their pass rusher.
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