The Philadelphia Eagles addressed a need on Thursday morning by reportedly signing free agent linebacker L.J. Fort.
But who the heck is L.J. Fort, exactly?
In order to answer that question, I thought it’d benefit BGN readers to get a Pittsburgh Steelers perspective on him. In order to do that, I reached out to good friend Jeff Hartman (@BnGBlitz) of Behind The Steel Curtain. Here’s what he had to say.
1) Can you summarize L.J. Fort’s stint in Pittsburgh?
Fort was a tremendous special teams player, but really came into his own as a sub package linebacker for the Steelers last year. He was the closest thing to bridging the gap between Ryan Shazier and whoever steps into that role next. He is a solid player, very athletic and covers extremely well.
2) What’s the reaction to him leaving? Should the Steelers have kept him?
A large majority of the fan base wanted Fort retained. He is a good insurance policy at ILB, and reports are stating the Steelers did try to retain him, but failed due to the Eagles giving him a better offer. He is a very hard worker, a journeyman, and played well when the team finally gave him a chance.
3) What are Fort’s strengths?
As I said before, his strengths are as a sub package player. He is not an every down linebacker. He is fast and athletic, which helps in coverage schemes. Since the Steelers play a lot of sub package defense, he saw the field a lot in 2018 and was able to do more than enough to solidify the position for the remainder of the season. Fort is also a very solid blitzer, when the Steelers gave him a chance to do so. Even though he only registered 1 sack last season, good blitzing isn’t always told by the overall number of sacks a player racks up.
4) What are Fort’s weaknesses?
For all the positives he brings in athleticism and coverage, he is a bit on the light side and isn’t as strong in the run game. If an offensive lineman gets to the second level he struggles shedding the blocker and making plays. He is best suited to play in space, and would be subbed out during goal line, short yardage and obvious running situations.
5) Do you believe he can be a starter?
He could be in the right scheme, but as I said earlier he is a good insurance policy. I would tell fans to expect a solid special teams player, and a part-time player who does well in sub packages. If he is starting it usually signifies a void on the defense he is attempting to fill.
6) Anything else to know about Fort off the field?
Not really. Fort was a good player on the field, and never an issue off it. A team oriented individual who has spent a lot of time in other NFL locker rooms. His experience is very valuable to any franchise.
For more Steelers perspective, check out this BSTC article on Fort. And the reaction from Steelers fans: