Eagles UDFA Linebacker Dante Olson Could Make Camp Interesting
Its no secret the Eagles linebacker core has plenty of questions ahead of the 2020 NFL season. The team returns Nate Gerry and T.J. Edwards, the presumed starters, but neither have a track record that should enlist confidence among Eagles fans.
If the Eagles don’t land a veteran between now and training camp, or sometime after some veteran cuts are made, expectations will inevitably be low for a group that includes Geary, Edwards, Alex Singleton, former Falcons third-round pick Duke Riley, free-agent addition Jatavious Brown, plus draft picks Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley.
Another interesting name should be included in the group, undrafted rookie free agent Dante Olson, a tackling machine from the University of Montana.
While Taylor has drawn plenty of attention, being Philadelphia’s third-round pick, and Bradley for playing locally at Temple, what if it’s Olson who turns out to be a steal?
In 2018, Olson had an eye-popping 151 tackles, with 11 for a loss. He added six sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and five passes defended.
Those numbers went up in 2019 – with 179 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss.
The 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker showed an explosive 42-inch vertical leap, best of any linebacker at the combine, but also ran a 4.88 second 40-yard dash, which is not so good.
97.3 ESPN Eagles insider Andrew DiCecco was a guest of The Sports Bash on Friday and said Olson will certainly make thing interesting.
"He had nearly 400 tackles," stated DiCecco. "He ran a very poor 40-time at the NFL combine, if he doesn't run a 4.8 - he likely gets drafted. But he'll make things interesting."
That 40-time might’ve resulted in his slide out of the draft, but the 42-inch vertical, his ability to constantly find and tackle the ball, that has teams interested.
What are the chances the Eagles found a special player outside of the draft?
“He's a tackling machine,” Geoff Mosher from InsidetheBirds.com said during 'Football at Four' on The Sports Bash. "That's how a personnel source put it to me, which the Eagles definitely need, and he is someone people should keep their eyes on."
He might be just the kind of linebacker the Eagles have been lacking, while he doesn't have great speed, he can blitz, tackle, is decent in coverage, is a leader and can play special teams.
He is the kind of linebacker in the NFC East, which features two of the best running backs in the game with Ezekiel Elliot and Saquon Barkley, you might need.
More from 97.3 ESPN: