The Birds added a pair of veteran linebackers on Sunday, bringing in 27 year old Myles Jack and 28 year old Zach Cunningham.

Nick Sirianni, who has said a whole bunch of nothing during the nothingness that is training camp, told media on Sunday evening that depth at the position was thin:

“We are low, a little bit low, at that position as far as the amount of guys. We really do feel good about the room. We just wanted to bring in some extra competition to let things shake out and see. At the end of the day the best guys will play.

But I think Nakobe [Dean] has done a great job. Obviously, he’s working through this ankle injur­­y, but he’s done a great job and we have a lot of confidence in him.

Nick Morrow has looked good. So has Christian [Elliss] and Shaun [Bradley]. We feel like Ben [VanSumeren] is a good developmental prospect.

But we just wanted to add competition to the room, and that’s one of our core values, is competition. So, when you bring in good players, like these two guys have been in this league, that’s only going to raise the level of everybody else in the room and on the defense.”

Naturally, people make the comparison to the Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh signings of 2022, but those guys came in mid season and helped shore up the run defense. These are training camp additions, and the beats who have been covering camp note that LB play has been lacking in the post-T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White era.

You also get some fan thought that the Birds might be concerned about Nakobe Dean’s prospects, which Sirianni was asked about.

“I feel really good about the room,” the head ball coach reiterated. “Just wanted to get some competition in there. I feel really good about Nakobe. When he was out there, he was doing a nice job running the defense, being in position to make plays.”

As it stands, the LB depth chart looks something like:

  • Nakobe Dean (ankle injury)
  • Nicholas Morrow
  • Myles Jack
  • Zach Cunningham
  • Christian Elliss
  • Shaun Bradley
  • Ben VanSumeren

You see the “Howie does it again” reaction, which is silly because they released Davion Taylor, a third round pick, and then went out and got a couple of free agents on minimum deals. That is not “Howie SZN.” Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham are solid and experienced veterans, but they were also available for a reason.

Jack’s best season was 2020, when he logged 118 tackles and six for loss in just 14 games. Those numbers are better than what he did in 2018, his second-best year, despite playing two fewer games. Cunningham also his best season in 2020, making 164 tackles with three sacks and seven TFL.

2020 wasn’t that long ago, so you hope these guys still have something left in the tank. Going from Edwards and White to Dean (unproven) and Morrow (average at best) feels like a significant step down, so hopefully something sticks and the Eagles look better in the linebacking department moving forward.

“Nick [Morrow] has some experience, but other than that we’re down some experience there,” Sirianni said. “That’s a good thing to have. Again, like I said, no indication on the room itself. Pleased with the room. We were low at numbers there and we wanted to bring in some competition to further drive the level up. That’s all that competition does. That’s why it’s one of our core values. They have experience and that’s a good thing.”