The common myth around the NFL is the Philadelphia Eagles don’t value linebackers. They refuse to draft them, they won’t waste money on them in free agency, and that position remains the biggest hole on the roster. But maybe everyone hasn’t been watching close enough.
The Eagles signed Kyzir White to a relatively cheap one-year deal on March 26. The move was significant as the team gets a guy one year removed from leading the Los Angeles Chargers in tackles (144). Plus, White is a local kid who grew up going to Eagles games and cheering on the hometown team.
But the feeling is Philly’s linebackers group is middle of the road, at best. Some want them to draft a stud in April’s draft – Devin Lloyd (Utah) or Nakobe Dean (Georgia) — but White doesn’t agree with that line of thinking. He sees a talented unit ready to explode.
“I think it’s a great opportunity but I also think there’s great linebackers on this team already,” White told reporters at his introductory press conference. “TJ Edwards and a few of the other younger guys as I was watching film yesterday, you gotta lot of good linebackers on this team so I don’t know why a lot of people try and put it out there that the Eagles don’t have linebackers. What I watched on film, they got a lot of good talent.”
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Watching Mike Vick, Shady McCoy at Lehigh University
White grew up roughly 53 miles from Philly in Emmaus, PA which is down the road from Lehigh University. The Eagles used to hold training camp out there every summer and the former high school running back used to attend practices with his brothers. He recalled being in awe of players like Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson. It’s surreal following in their footsteps.
“I’m from an hour up the road so I got my family here with me, it’s the hometown team,” White said. “And I’m just excited overall. I feel like it’s a good opportunity for me.”
The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder would sometimes make the trek to Lincoln Financial Field for games. One particular contest stood out: the Snow Game versus Detroit in 2013 when McCoy rumbled for 217 yards. That was his first time sitting in the stands and it left a lasting impression.
“That made me want to play for the Eagles,” White said. “Right after I left the game I’m like, one day I’m going to throw on that Eagles uniform and suit up for ’em, so just to be here is crazy how life comes full circle. I’m blessed to be here.”
White Betting on Himself, Wants Long-Term Contract
It seems as if the Eagles have put an emphasis on bringing in hometown heroes this offseason. First, they inked Philly native Haason Reddick and let him live out his childhood dream and now White gets that same opportunity. It’s a great story to tell the grandkids one day assuming everything works out. Looking at White’s tape, he certainly has all the intangibles.
“I think I’m a relentless player, high energy guy, play with a lot of passion, heart, soul,” White said when asked to describe his style of play. “I ain’t the biggest, strongest, fastest but I feel like I play with a lot of heart and toughness and grit and that’s everything Philadelphia is made of so I feel like I’m the perfect fit.”
One more thing: White actually wants to be here. The former fourth-round pick agreed to a one-year deal because he’s betting on himself to turn it into a lucrative long-term contract. He never wants to wear another uniform.
“I would love to be here for the rest of my career,” White said. “My family’s back there [back of the room at NovaCare Complex], this is where I want to be, man. One-year deal, bet on myself, and just prove it again.”