The career arc of Kyzir White suggests that his best football could be ahead of him, and that’s one of the reasons the Eagles were so interested in adding a fifth-year linebacker who in 2021 set a career high with 144 total tackles – third most in the AFC with seven games in double digits – and has the speed and athleticism to cover in the passing game. A safety in his college days at West Virginia, White is one of seven siblings, three of whom reached the NFL (Kevin and Ka’Raun are former wide receivers).
So, it’s all about football and family for White, who agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Eagles on Saturday and who adds depth to the linebacker corps. Philadelphia continues to build – we’re early in the process here, and the team understands the work ahead – and bringing White on board to compete for playing time at linebacker makes every bit of sense. White is here to prove something to the team and to the NFL.
A fourth-round draft picked by the Chargers in 2018, the Macungie, Pennsylvania, native is only 26 and he steadily earned his time with the Chargers – starting three games as rookie, then seven in 2019, 10 a year later, and all 17 contests for Los Angeles last season. He’s an agile, to-the-ball player who has had, per Pro Football Focus, “four straight seasons with coverage grades above 60.0, not an easy feat for an off-ball linebacker in today’s NFL against so many hi-lo concepts and the increase in run-pass options putting so much stress on the position.”
Among White’s rise in 2021, he edged out the team’s 2020 first-round draft pick, Kenneth Murray, for time on the field and, more than anything, made plays.
• 7 tackles for loss in 2021
• Was one of 3 NFL players to have a sack, multiple forced fumbles, and multiple interceptions this season
• Tied for the team lead with 2 INT, both against Baltimore in Week 6. White was the first Chargers LB with multiple picks in a single game since 2008
• Forced 2 fumbles in Week 1 win at Washington, most by a Charger in a season opener since at least 2000
Adding White doesn’t mean the Eagles are finished at linebacker – they are, in truth, open to improving any position throughout the rest of free agency, through next month’s NFL Draft, and deep into the summer and into September and beyond via trades and the waiver wire. But White is an intriguing player who began his career with the Chargers as a WILL (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3 front and then transitioned inside in the 3-4 front Los Angeles employed last season.
The Eagles have youth and talent at linebacker with TJ Edwards, Davion Taylor, and newly added Haason Reddick leading the way and players like Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson, and JaCoby Stevens vying for roster spots and playing time. Adding White to the mix just adds more competition and brings on board a player who has had success in the NFL and who wants to show the league he’s for real.