Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Sr. spent eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, cementing his status as a team legend over that span.
A four-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro, Trotter is in the Eagles Hall of Fame. The former Eagles LB played in 147 games over his NFL career, 116 of which were with the Eagles. Trotter retired from the NFL after the 2009 season, and now his son, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., is headed to the league.
In SB Nation’s 7-round mock draft for the Eagles on January 29, Ben Natan has Trotter Jr., a standout a Clemson University, heading to Philly.
A projected second-round pick, Natan’s mock sends Trotter Jr. to Philadelphia with the 54th overall selection.
Eagles Drafting Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Would Address Huge Need at LB
“Linebacker was a major weak point in the Eagles defense this season,” Natan noted.
“Teams ate up the middle of the field and the running defense got soft as the season went along.”
To be fair, starting linebacker Nakobe Dean spent the bulk of the season on the Eagles’ injured reserve list, and 2023 starters Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham had both signed one-year bargain deals. Few expected much out of the latter two LBs.
“While Howie Roseman has rarely placed value on the linebacker position, the addition of Vic Fangio might balance out that apathy,” Natan added. “Jeremiah Trotter Junior is a nostalgia pick for the Eagles as his dad was one of the last great Eagles linebackers, but he’s also a hell of a player. He has the speed and physicality that Fangio emphasizes with the position.”
Trotter started 26 games for the Tigers over the last two seasons. He racked up 177 total tackles (28.5 for loss), 12.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions and two defensive scores in that span. Trotter was also a Butkus Award finalist, an award that is given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
The Butkus Award went to Payton Wilson of NC State, but the 6-foot, 230-pound Trotter was named Pro Football Network’s top linebacker of the 2024 draft class.
“Trotter is a dense, well-leveraged linebacker over the middle of the field who offers great instincts and awareness for his age,” PFN’s Ian Cummings wrote about Trotter Jr.. “He has a natural feel for how to combat, evade, and bend around blocks, and he’s a very reliable tackler with sturdy form and a strong closing burst.”
Eagles Could Use Another Generational Linebacker
In addition to the elder Trotter, Bill Bergey and Seth Joyner, among others, the Eagles have a respectable tradition of excellence at the position. Trotter Jr. has all the traits to become another great.
He earned an 80.4 run defense grade from PFF, along with an 82.0 coverage grade. He has issues with missed tackles — he missed 15 in 2023 and 12 in 2022 — but his technique can be improved.
New Eagles DC Vic Fangio also has a strong history of working with young LBs. As defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears in 2018, he helped future All-Pro Roquan Smith get acclimated to the league as a rookie. Fangio also worked with Pro Bowl LBs Von Miller and Bradley Chubb when he served as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2019.
It’s up to chance whether Philly lands Trotter Jr. in the draft, of course, but if the former Clemson backer should fall to them in Round 2, his promise coupled with the team’s need at LB could result in a pretty cool story.
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