With Nakobe Dean expected to miss several weeks with a foot injury, the Eagles are adding former Titans 1st-round pick Rashaan Evans to their practice squad, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Dean suffered a foot injury in the third quarter of the Eagles’ season-opening win against the Patriots Sunday in Foxboro, leaving Christian Elliss and Zach Cunningham as the only healthy linebackers on the 53-man roster.
Evans, 27, was the 22nd player taken in the 2018 draft and started 50 games over four seasons with the Titans, recording three sacks, two interceptions and eight pass breakups. He spent last season with the Falcons, starting all 17 games with 159 tackles, two sacks and four pass breakups.
Pro Football Focus graded Evans at 59.6 last year, which ranked 45th out of 60 linebackers that played at least 500 snaps.
Evans was not in a training camp this summer, so it could take him some time before he’s able to get on the field.
The Eagles don’t have a lot of options to replace Dean, the 22-year-old second-year pro from Georgia.
Nicholas Morrow, who got 1st-team reps at times in training camp, is currently on the practice squad and could be a game-day elevation. Undrafted rookie Ben VanSumeren, who had 17 tackles in the preseason finale against the Colts, is new to the linebacker position and isn’t ready, although he could probably contribute on special teams now.
Since Dean is expected to miss multiple weeks, the Eagles will almost certainly place him on Injured Reserve, which would mean he would have to miss at least four games. That would make him eligible to return on Oct. 15, when the Eagles face the Jets in East Rutherford.
Placing Dean would open up a roster spot on the 53 and mean the Eagles wouldn’t have to release anybody to make room for Morrow (or Evans, if the Eagles decide to go in that direction).
And if they promote Morrow - who started 46 games for the Raiders and Bears from 2017 through 2022 - that would open a spot on the 16-man practice squad for Evans.
Whatever happens, the linebacker position remains a huge area of concern for the Eagles.
Elliss is a third-year undrafted player who got the most extensive playing time of his career Sunday in New England – 34 snaps, most of them after Dean’s injury. Cunningham wasn’t even in a training camp until the Eagles signed him on Aug. 6 and did not play well Sunday. Morrow went from starter reps to being released in final cuts before landing on the Eagles' practice squad. And Evans hasn’t even suited up since he got 55 snaps in the Falcons’ season-ending win over the Buccaneers last January.