Paul Worrilow never had the opportunity to show the Eagles how he could contribute at the linebacker position in 2018. On the first day of voluntary minicamp, Worrilow’s season ended with a torn ACL.
Worrilow tore the ligament during a 7-on-7 drill, banging knees with Corey Nelson and was taken off on a stretcher. This came on the heels of the team releasing Mychal Kendricks earlier that same day.
In essence the Eagles lost two linebackers in one day, but Worrilow was given another chance with the Eagles when they re-signed him to a one-year deal in January. Worrilow is still rehabbing that knee as minicamp began last week, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
He still has an important role on the Eagles defense when he returns to the field.
“First thing he has done is impressed every single person in the building with his work ethic,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “He’s just been incredible the way he’s attacked his injury rehab. He’s really been a leader for a lot of other guys. We have a significant number of injuries in there, and he has really set a good standard for the work that it takes to recover.
“And Paul is a veteran player. Has experience in Atlanta. Some experience in Detroit. That shows through also. He’s still working his way back, but veteran players it’s a little bit easier. He doesn’t have to fight the learning curve as much. Just getting his body right.”
Worrilow has valuable experience as a starter at linebacker, starting eight games for the Detroit Lions in 2017. He finished with 30 tackles, one pass deflection, and a fumble recovery. The 27-year old Worrilow has 413 tackles, 11 pass deflections, and four sacks in five NFL seasons (not counting his 2018 season with the Eagles), starting 52 of 72 career games.
The Eagles have been determined to improve their special teams, which was believed to receive a boost with the addition of Worrilow last year. In his final season with the Atlanta Falcons (2016), Worrilow played a key role on the Falcons special teams unit, while providing depth at inside linebacker.
Finishing 14th on special teams last season, Worrilow should improve the Eagles’ special teams unit.
Worrilow won’t be starting on the Eagles at linebacker (Zach Brown and Nigel Bradham have the two starting spots), but can play all three linebacker positions. During minicamp, the Eagles have lined up Worrilow at strong-side linebacker (SAM) behind Nate Gerry (Bradham is rehabbing a thumb injury from last season).
Worrilow can also play middle linebacker, but Brown is there and L.J. Fort can play the position. The Eagles are still trying to find out where they can mix Worrilow in on the defense, but there should be a spot for him on special teams.
Having Worrilow around will provide valuable experience and leadership to a linebacker group with a lot of young players.