June 15, 2021
During this semi-dead period of the offseason, we'll be comparing each of the Philadelphia Eagles' rookies to current or former NFL players. Today we'll find a comp for sixth-round linebacker JaCoby Stevens.
Previous player comp profiles
New Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is a Mike Zimmer disciple, which means that there's a decent bet that Eagles linebackers are going to get more opportunities as blitzers. There's also speculation that Gannon will run a lot of zone coverages, which means that those linebackers better also, you know, be able to play zone coverage.
One of the players that I thought fit that mold during free agency was Raiders LB Nicholas Morrow, a player that Oakland converted from safety after signing him as an undrafted free agent in 2017. In 2020, Morrow allowed just 4.5 yards per target, per pro-football-reference.com. He was also a threat as a blitzer, as he collected three sacks and eight pressures on the season.
You can see Morrow's zone coverage and blitzing ability in the highlight reel below. Note that he also has a little pop when he hits:
Stevens reminds me of Morrow. A comparison of their measurables coming out of college:
|Measurable||JaCoby Stevens||Nicholas Morrow|
|Height||6'1 1/8"||6'0 3/8"|
|Arm length||31 3/4"||32"|
|Hand size||9 1/4"||9 1/8"|
|40 yard dash||4.62||4.52|
|10 yard split||1.68||1.66|
At LSU, Stevens was a safety/linebacker hybrid. He was a savvy blitzer (8 sacks the last two seasons), he delivered some big hits, and you can get a little taste of his ability in zone coverage when he played in the box in the highlight reel below from 2019:
Stevens' skill set and his transition to linebacker makes a lot of sense in a Zimmer-like scheme.
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