The Eagles were less than prolific when it came to the pass rusher last season. That is well-documented and signals a need for an upgrade. While Trent Cole and Connor Barwin will likely remain key cogs in the defense, a third pass rusher would likely open up the pass rush. The Eagles could draft a young talent to sit behind Cole for a year or they could transition the him into a rotational player with the signing of a veteran free agent.
Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds could one of the options for the Eagles. The four-year veteran, who is a New Jersey native, has improved his sack totals every season that he has been in the league. He also has 21 games of starting experience under his belt. However, he has served as mostly a rotational pass rusher in Pittsburgh, which may be a selling point for the Eagles, who may look to replace Cole sooner than later.
Worilds was the 52nd player taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. The Virginia Tech product was a role player as a rookie and collected 17 tackles and two sacks in his first season. He appeared in 12 games (seven starts) in his second year. He complied 38 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in his extended action in 2011.
In 2012, Worilds appeared in 16 games (three starts) and had 27 tackles, five sacks and two pass breakups. He followed that up with his best season to date. This past year, Worilds started 11-of-15 games and produced 63 tackles, eight sacks, a pass breakup and two forced fumbles.
Appeal to the Eagles
While 6-foot-2 and 262 pounds may be a bit smaller than the Eagles staff may covet, but Worilds is a talented player. He is still young at just 25 (26 in March) and has a lot of room to grow. He has played in big games and been the member of a team in the Super Bowl. He has a lot of experience but has not been asked to carry the load as a starter. He also is a natural 3-4 outside linebacker.
Appeal to Worilds
Worilds wants more consistent playing time and has mentioned this to the Pittsburgh media. He has said the only way he would re-sign with the Steelers is for a guaranteed starting gig. I think the Eagles are a young team that would allow Worilds to really become a serious star on defense. I think if you are a young defender, the Eagles are an appealing team. They also have a ton of salary cap, so a long-term deal would be easy to complete.
If the Eagles can look past Worilds' lack of playing time and experience, he has to be considered an option.
If Worilds likes what he is offered by the Eagles and is willing to initially work in a rotation, Philadelphia may be a match for the young pass rusher.