As I have spoken about ad nauseum, the Philadelphia Eagles are in desperate need of help at the linebacker position. In their defensive scheme, it is imperative to have a stable of tough, hard nosed, physical inside linebackers due to the fact that the middle of the field opens up in the wide 9 scheme. Linebacker also happens to be a position that the organization has undervalued or flat out ignored in recent years. I have been a huge proponent of taking Boston College linebacker and all world talent Luke Kuechly with their first pick in the 2012 draft. Now, according to Geoff Mosher, the club is reportedly considering adding the services of former Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Dan Connor.
The Penn State alum and winner of the 2007 Chuck Bednarik award (given to the nation’s top defensive player) is a local guy, having graduated from Strath Haven High School. His hometown roots have less to do with the Eagles’ decision than the talent possessed by Connor and the minimal price tag he will bring. Having by no means by a star thus far in his NFL career, what better place for the Penn State grad to establish himself, prove what he can do and step into a team where he can become a leader, than right in his own backyard?
Philadelphia would certainly not have to break the bank to sign him; and they should have plenty of money to throw around this offseason, especially considering the added cap room the impending release of Asante Samuel will free up. In addition, their penchant for undervaluing the position of linebacker may actually help this deal get done. Connor is an “under the radar” kind of guy, which fits the teams’ modus operandi at linebacker perfectly.
In his 4 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Connor has appeared in 42 games, 19 of which he has started. In those appearances, he has amassed 156 tackles and 1 sack. The explanation for his lack of playing time can be summed up in two words: Jon Beason. Not many players in the NFL would get in the game ahead of the monster that is Beason. Connor is a young guy who is looking to make his mark in the league. While I don’t foresee the Eagles viewing him as their defensive savior, I do think there is a role on this team that he could fill more than adequately.