Eagles Buzz: LB Christian Elliss garnered a lot of attention during OTAs
Eagles OTAs have already come and gone, sadly. Since the team does not hold mandatory minicamp, we won’t see anymore more on-field action until training camp rolls around in July.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of interesting nuggets of information from the Eagles OTA sessions this year. One that surprised me – along with the media members in attendance, I presume – was the emergence of 24-year-old linebacker Christian Elliss.
Nicholas Morrow was the presumed starter alongside Nakobe Dean at linebacker entering the season. With Morrow missing a few days of OTAs, Elliss got an opportunity to run with the first-team and he took full advantage of it.
John McMullen of Sports Illustrated writes, “Christian Elliss set the tone on defense, getting first-team reps next to Nakobe Dean thanks to Morrow’s absence. The athletic second-year linebacker undercut a Jalen Hurts throw to Jack Stoll and took it back the other way for a pick-six that fired up the defense. Elliss had another pass breakup in the session and also had an interception of Marcus Mariota in the other OTA open to reporters last week. He was easily the MVP of the spring’s small sample size.”
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McMullen was far from the only reporter who took notice of Elliss.
Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation notes, “[Elliss] could conceivably not even make the roster … or he could potentially steal a starting off-ball linebacker spot. The most likely outcome, of course, is that he falls between those two options. But I feel like Elliss has more of a chance to play meaningful snaps than most would think. He showed some juice in an incredibly small sample size last year. At the very least, he should be a good special teams contributor. Interesting under-the-radar candidate to monitor.”
As it stands, linebacker is the biggest question mark on the Eagles roster. Dean is, for all intents and purposes, guaranteed a starting spot. Despite his small sample size last year, he was considered by many to be the best defensive player on Georgia’s 2021 National Championship team. If Jonathan Gannon had any foresight, he probably would have played Dean over Kyzir White towards the end of last season.
Aside from Dean, the other starting LB job is completely up for grabs. Even though Morrow is coming off a 100-tackle season with the Bears in 2022, his status on the Eagles roster is hardly solidified.
Then we have the wildcards of the group, Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor. Bradley has been a great special teams player since he was drafted in 2020. Taylor has had his moments during his short career, but he’s never taken that next step and cemented his status as a starter.
Elliss could conceivably swoop in and steal the starting gig. It wouldn’t be the first time an undrafted linebacker came in and snagged a starting spot. TJ Edwards went from an unknown commodity to the leader of the Eagles defense in just a few years. Now that he’s no longer here, maybe Elliss can be the spiritual successor to Edwards.
This also depends heavily on whether the team goes out and signs a veteran backer before camp starts. The fact that they haven’t done so yet probably means they’re at least intrigued by Elliss and what he’s shown thus far. Only time will tell.
>> More from Eagles OTAs: Rookie Sydney Brown is impressing his veteran teammates
Mandatory Credit: Yahoo! Sports