The Philadelphia Eagles have had a few undrafted free agent rookies impress in training camp and in the preseason, but perhaps the most impressive of the bunch has been linebacker Jake Knott.
Knott has displayed outstanding instincts for a rookie linebacker in the run game and in coverage. He has also been a standout on special teams, a crucial element in making the roster for head coach Chip Kelly. Knott was a decorated player at Iowa State and perhaps if it weren’t for a shoulder injury suffered in his senior season he would have been a mid-round pick.
The Eagles and general manager Howie Roseman felt fortunate to acquire Knott as an undrafted free agent after the draft, and so far their faith and investment in him has paid off. The linebacker has been flying to the football in the preseason. Whether it is making the tackle, making a play in coverage, or creating a turnover, Knott has displayed an ability and knack for finding the football at this level.
The Eagles boast the best depth they have had in years at the inside linebacker position. With Knott and recent acquisition Najee Goode along with special teams maven Casey Matthews, the Eagles have a variety of skill sets, versatility, and interchangeability to play these guys – especially in Knott and Goode – on early downs in the run game and then in the nickel package in coverage.
The depth at inside linebacker where the Eagles kept five roster spots as opposed to the traditional four is a good problem to have. Knott and Goode are solid young players that this young defense can grow with.
It may be foreign to some Eagles fans, but the Eagles finally seem to have young talent and depth at the linebacker position.