Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles Add Pro Bowl Linebacker to Boost Defense

NIcholas WaughContributor IIMarch 21, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:   DeMeco Ryans #59 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In a stunning turn of events, the Philadelphia Eagles have acquired former Houston Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans in a trade. In return, the Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick and swapped third-round selections with the Texans in this year’s draft.

Ryans is a six-year pro, with two Pro Bowl appearances. He brings size, speed and experience to a depleted, inexperienced linebacker corps.

Ryans compiled 64 total tackles in 2011, 44 of which were solo tackles. That total is nearly half the number of tackles that Ryan gained in each year from 2006-2010, but the reduction could be attributed to the Texans' switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

This is definitely a steal for a defense that was shredded by the run last season and whose defensive line’s scheme revolves around the wide-nine technique.

The Eagles have not been strong at the linebacker position since Jeremiah Trotter and Mark Simoneau manned the controls in the middle.

They've tried inserting numerous players into this position, but none have been able to flourish as the starting middle linebacker.

They’ve tried using Stewart Bradley, who seemed promising very early in his career, but was plagued by injuries and later released by the Eagles before the start of last season.

Jamar Chaney was subbed into the position in 2010, as a rookie, and showed glimpses of greatness. However, he failed to live up to expectations last season.

The Eagles drafted Casey Matthews in last year’s draft, hoping that he would be their answer in the middle, but he was swallowed up by offensive lineman and easily outmatched on many plays.

Ryans provides the security that this team has been searching for to clog the middle.