Philadelphia Eagles' 2010 Break-Out Candidate: Akeem Jordan
Akeem "The Dream" Jordan was signed as a rookie free agent in 2007 out of James Madison. He has become the incumbent starter at the weak side linebacker position (WILL) heading into 2010. Jordan has earned his top spot on the depth chart by steadily improving his productivity and that of the WILL position in general.
He was a playmaker at JMU, recording 140 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and three interceptions in his senior year. He made the Eagles in 2007 at the expense of former second round draft pick Matt McCoy.
He started to turn heads in 2008.
As the 2008 season drew to a close, Jordan became a major factor on the defensive side of the ball, replacing Omar Gaither at WILL. His contributions were widely perceived as one of the major reasons for the Eagles late season, defensive success.
It wasn't that Gaither was a bad linebacker—Jordan was just playing really well.
Jordan has been excellent in reading the play out of the backfield and in coverage, accordingly. He's tough and physical against the run and covers open space well without losing sight of his assignment. He could be primed to become a big play-maker in 2010 if he can stay healthy.
In 2008, Jordan managed plenty of tackles and stuffs behind the line of scrimmage, but he couldn't get his hands on the ball. He covered well, that wasn't an issue. The Eagles' linebackers just needed to make more plays.
His speed and quickness were apparent.
This is going to be an exciting season for Akeem Jordan. What makes me most optimistic is his 2009 improvement in playmaking. Always solid, Jordan stepped up with two interceptions and a sack in 10 starts this past season—his first of each in the NFL.
Injuries may have slowed Jordan down in 2009, but nothing major to cause great concern. He signed his second-round tender on March 22, and he's officially an Eagle this year.
The Eagles should look to lock him up long-term.
2010 Projection: 100 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, 2 Forced Fumble, 1 TD
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