The day after the surprising trade for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, Paul Domowitch has a piece about what the Philadelphia Eagles might do in the draft. Just because they traded for a linebacker, Paul writes, doesn't mean you should rule out the possibility that they take another, such as Boston College's Luke Kuechly, in the first round next month:
Kuechly, who scouts think could be a Day 1 starter both in the middle and on the strong side, still certainly could be a possibility, depending on the Eagles’ opinion right now of Jamar Chaney, Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou.
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo moved Chaney from MIKE to SAM at the beginning of training camp last year because he said the SAM spot was a more critical position in his defense. But after rookie Casey Matthews struggled in the middle in the first two games, Chaney was moved back inside. Whether Castillo and linebackers coach Mike Caldwell still are bullish on Chaney at SAM remains to be seen.
I'm pretty sure the Eagles like Chaney, at least in the long term, but are aware that linebacker was a major problem last year and remain open-minded about changing any and every aspect of their starting linebacker corps. So if Kuechly is there at 15 (which he may not be, if his pre-draft buzz stays hot), it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see them take him. Nor would it be a surprise to see the Eagles, between now and the draft, sign a free-agent linebacker. It wouldn't be someone on the level of Ryans -- no Curtis Lofton or London Fletcher -- but the linebacker market has been slow, and that makes you think the prices on some of the guys in the middle of the pack of available linebackers will be reasonable.
Paul also outlines the possibility of the Eagles addressing quarterback at some point in the early rounds with someone like Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins as a long-range possible Michael Vick replacement. And he believes that the Eagles won't draft a safety early, mainly because they've done that in recent drafts and still believe in the abilities of guys like Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. I agree and think it's more likely the Eagles bring in a veteran safety for depth and go into camp projecting two of their young guys as starters.
But the main point I wanted to make, since people have been asking about it over the last 24 hours, is that no, the Ryans acquisition doesn't take the Eagles out of the linebacker market, and it shouldn't.