Up today: Kamu Grugier-Hill
How acquired: Claimed at final cuts in 2016 after cut by Patriots (sixth-round pick)
Entering: Year 4
Just before Doug Pederson's first year as head coach, the Eagles claimed three players off waivers from other teams. One of them was Grugier-Hill, who was released by the Patriots after they took him in the sixth round of the draft.
The other two? Safety Terrence Brooks and wide receiver Bryce Treggs.
When the Eagles claimed KGH, even they probably didn't know what they were getting. At the time, they were adding a player who could potentially thrive on special teams, but to think the college box safety could become a true starting linebacker back then would have been completely premature. That's not the case anymore.
In 2018, Grugier-Hill started the first 10 games of his career and his role grew when Jordan Hicks went down with a calf injury. At linebacker, he flashed the same athleticism that has made him a great special teams player.
No, Grugier-Hill wouldn't have been able to play linebacker in the league 15 years ago. He's still just 6-2 and even after putting on a bunch of weight from his college days is still listed at 230 pounds. But he's a perfect hybrid-type player in today's NFL. He's a linebacker with coverage ability and lateral quickness. But he's also shown me he's tough enough to run stuff when needed.
We all know Nigel Bradham will be the Eagles' linebacker that won't leave the field in 2019. But after that, there's some competition for the other spots. If I had to guess, it'll be Grugier-Hill and Zach Brown starting next to Bradham. But if KGH continues to progress, I think he can make Brown a part-time player in Philly.
With three years of experience in the NFL and one year with significant defensive experience, it seems like Grugier-Hill might be ready for a big year in what also happens to be a contract season for him. Even if Grugier-Hill doesn't have a breakout season, he'll still be a special teams standout and situational linebacker, which isn't a bad spot either.
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