Eagles Bring in Another Schwartz Favorite, Sign LB Bradham
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — A day after bringing in one former Jim Schwartz favorite to replace the departed Byron Maxwell, the Eagles went that route again to find the heir apparent to Kiko Alonso, agreeing to a deal with former Buffalo Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham.
The 26-year-old Bradham is a lot like corner Leodis McKelvin, who signed with the Birds on Tuesday, in that he struggled in Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme last year but excelled in Jim Schwartz's 4-3 philosophy a year earlier.
At 6-foot-2 and 241 pounds, the Florida State product also has the size to handle the SAM LB spot, which enables Mychal Kendricks to settle in at the WILL, his more natural position.
Both Kendricks and Alonso are best-suited for the weakside so one would have been forced to play an unnatural position if the Eagles stuck with the status quo.
Bradham leaves Buffalo having started 38 of the 57 games he played with the team after being drafted in the fourth round out of FSU during the 2012 draft. He recorded 165 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, one interception, 12 pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Of the 97 linebackers rated by ProFootballFocus.com last season, Bradham finished far down the list at No. 81, particularly struggling as a run defender.
In theory his arrival means the Eagles can stick with the current plan of moving Connor Barwin up front to defensive end. Second-year man Jordan Hicks would start at middle linebacker flanked by Kendricks and Bradham with the ex-Bills player serving as the two-down linebacker while Hicks and Kendricks handle nickel responsibilities.
In an effort to make Schwartz even more comfortable, the Eagles then added a third ex-Bills player in Ron Brooks, signing the corner and special-teams standout to a three-year contract.
Brooks, 27, like Bradham was originally drafted by the Bills in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. In his four seasons in Buffalo, he compiled 41 tackles and five passes defensed in 41 games (three starts).
A key contributor on Buffalo's special teams, Brooks finished second on the team in '14 with a career-best 10 ST tackles.
An LSU product, Brooks was once a roommate of Eagles' DT Bennie Logan, at he school.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen