Trevard, Chaney and Owens Sign Deals
By Lance Epstein
On Friday, the Eagles agreed to terms with three more draft picks in cornerback Trevard Lindley, defensive tackle Jeff Owens and linebacker Jamar Chaney.
These three signings brings the total number of draft selections signed to five [still eight more to go]. Lindley (5-11, 183) was a fourth-round selection and is currently the highest Eagles’ draft pick to be under contract. At Kentucky, he was a four-year starter and finished first all-time in career passing deflections with 34.
One reason the Eagles decided to wait on drafting a cornerback until the fourth-round was because of Lindley’s natural playmaking skills. In his collegiate career, he pilled up in ten interceptions and recorded 189 tackles. His breakout year came during his junior campaign, where he earned first-team All-SEC as he registered 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. Many scouts even ranked him as the best corner in America heading into his senior season.
With Ellis Hobbs not being able to make it through an entire OTA this whole off-season due to his neck injury, Lindley has an excellent chance of seeing significant playing time in his rookie year. Still, he must learn the intricacies of making a tackle because the Eagles cannot afford to have two corners that shy away from contact.
As a senior, Owens was the defensive co-captain of the Georgia Bulldogs defense. Owens (6-1, 304) slipped to the seventh-round of the draft after a disappointing senior season for the Bulldogs' defense. However, Owens was projected to go much higher due to his ability and skills.
While at Georgia, Owens started 37 games and played in 52 games total. In those 52 games, he recorded 102 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries.
Certainly Owens will head into training camp as an afterthought as the Eagles will list Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon ahead of him on the depth charts. That said he could turn some heads. He is stout against the run and has shown a quick burst to get up field and to the passer. He is most likely destined for the practice squad, but do not be surprised if he beats out Laws [who is already on thin ice].
Like Owens, Chaney was a seventh-round pick out of Mississippi State that should have gone much higher in the draft. In fact, the Eagles were so surprised he was sitting there in the seventh-round that they moved up to snatch him rather than risk someone else signing him as an undrafted rookie.
Twice in his collegiate career, Chaney (6-0, 242) made second-team All-SEC as a middle linebacker. In just 49 games and 39 starts, he accumulated 288 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. During his junior and senior seasons, he led the Bulldogs' defense in tackles with 90 and 89 respectively.
Without a doubt, Stewart Bradley is the man in the middle for the Eagles, but he is recovering from a torn ACL and his knee may never be the same [looks good so far in OTAs]. Additionally, Chaney provides the Eagles with a capable backup in the middle, which the Birds did not have last year as they played musical chairs at the position. Furthermore, current backup Omar Gaither is on a one-year contract and is also coming off a foot injury that cost him most of the 2009 season.
Chaney does not need to come into camp and be a dominant player, but just show he can make a contribution on special teams. Eventually he could see his role expand with the club and become an impact player.