The Eagles decided not to wait until draft time to improve their lackluster defense. In a three team deal with the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions, Philadelphia sacrificed a fifth round pick and acquired linebacker Ernie Sims.
Drafted out of Florida State in the first round in 2006, Sims made his presence felt for the Lions. In his rookie season he led the team in tackles (144) and topped the century mark in tackles the following two years. His season was cut short in 2009 due to ongoing injuries, but he did not miss a game during his first three seasons in Detroit.
Even though he spent most of his career playing outside linebacker, Eagles sources believe he will most likely compete with Akeem Jordan for the starting weak inside linebacker job.
This was a key acquisition by the Eagles front office. Not only is Sims young, but he has proven that he can start in the National Football League. Joining a team that is in the midst of a rebuilding process, Sims can be an influential leader on the defense that the Eagles have been missing since Brian Dawkins. In just his second season with the Lions, Sims was named one of the five team captains, further proving that he is a leader both on and off the field.
Honestly, what’s not to like about this move by the Eagles? They were able to get a young, first-round draft pick that has good success in the past for a fifth round draft pick. Considering the Eagles still have nine more draft picks in the 2010 draft, this was a smart move to get a proven player before the draft. Now they don’t have to focus as much on getting a linebacker with their first round pick. Instead, this boosts the likelihood of the Eagles trading up their pick and going after a safety (hopefully Eric Berry from Tennessee if they are willing to give up a lot of picks or Earl Thomas from Texas). Even if they are unable to move up in the draft, there a number of defensive players available to them that are good draft candidates.
As long as Sims is able to stay injury-free, this could be a huge steal by the Eagles. With the linebacker core being old and thin, look for Sims to make an immediate impact for the ‘Birds.