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The Eagles' need at middle linebacker is obvious to everyone. Casey Matthews may have made a name for himself late in the season as a nickel linebacker, but he will not be responsible for playing the run as a middle linebacker anytime soon. Jamar Chaney spent most of the 2011 season as the Eagles MIKE, but he struggled with tackling in the open field and pass coverage and will most likely be moved to the strong side, if he's lucky.
The Eagles could go several different routes this offseason at the middle linebacker position. There are a couple quality free agent linebackers that could become free agents along with several quality prospects entering the draft this season.
Stephen Tulloch would be the best fit for the Eagles at middle linebacker. Sound familiar? Most people thought that last year when the Eagles didn't offer Tulloch anything and he signed a one year deal with Detroit. Now he is 27 years old, entering his prime and is likely looking for a long-term deal.
Tulloch has racked up at least 110 tackles in each of the past three seasons and 566 in his six year career, all in the Wide-9 scheme that the Eagles employ. He would be the ideal player for the Eagles to help improve their mediocre run defense.
Curtis Lofton will also be a player of interest for the Eagles as he is coming off a season where he made 147 tackles for the Atlanta Falcons. Lofton will be a high priority for Atlanta this offseason but if he wants to test the market, he could get very enticing deal from the Eagles to try and lure up away from Atlanta.
If the Eagles are unable to sign either player, which is likely as both teams will have both players high on their offseason priority list, they could sign a less name in free agency like D'Qwell Jackson of Cleveland or Dan Connor or Carolina.
If all else fails, expect the Eagles to go all out for Boston College's Luke Kuechly in the 2012 NFL Draft. Kuechly is a bit undersized at 237 pounds, but has been one of the most productive linebackers in college football the past two seasons and should have success in the Eagles defense.
If the Eagles don't sign a middle linebacker before the draft, don't be surprised if they trade up a few picks to ensure they get their man.