Former CFL star Alex Singleton is the best linebacker on the Eagles roster

Photo courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles

It’s quickly becoming apparent former CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player Alex Singleton is the best linebacker on the Philadelphia Eagles roster.

Singleton’s first career NFL start came against reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and his Ravens. It was a narrow 30-28 loss to Baltimore, however Singleton stood out with nine total tackles playing 89 percent of the defensive snaps. That performance led to start number two against the Giants, when he posted a team-high five solo tackles in a 22-21 Week 7 victory.

Even though it’s taken over five years for NFL talent evaluators to realize he should be on the field, Singleton has earned the trust of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Not just in coach speak either. Singleton was asked to spy the ultra-fast Jackson who set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season with 1,206 last year — critical sign of respect from Schwartz.

Photo courtesy: Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles

The six-foot-two, 240-pounder has been all over the field for Philly. He’s continued his role as a core four special teams ace for Dave Fipp’s units. Just like when Singleton earned any kind of playing time in the CFL, he’s showing the ability to assimilate to the game speed and level seamlessly.

It’s an NFC East match-up on Sunday Night Football in Week 8 for Singleton and the Eagles just over a year to the day he made his NFL debut against the same opponent: the Dallas Cowboys. That was a major step for Singleton to be activated from the practice roster and it led to his starting linebacker job.

Currently Philadelphia leads the worst division in the NFL with a 2-4-1 record and despite Dallas having just as many wins at 2-5, NFL oddsmakers have the Eagles as 7.5-point favourites. The Cowboys could start their third quarterback of the season after Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 and backup Andy Dalton sustained a concussion in the defeat to Washington last Sunday.

Rookie QB Ben DiNucci could make his NFL debut on Sunday night for Dallas. Singleton and Schwartz must be savouring the potential of messing with a first-time starter at quarterback. The 26-year-old can make plays in coverage, evidenced by his pick-six on Sunday Night Football in Week 4, which sealed the Eagles first win of the year.

That boosted Singleton’s overall Pro Football Focus grade for the 2020 season. He’s earned a 71.7 mark from PFF, the highest among all Eagles linebackers who have played 100 or more snaps. He was assigned a 76.9 grade for his work versus New York, the highest by a wide margin of any second level defender on the birds’ roster.

Based on the film, data or the old fashioned eye ball test, Singleton is the best linebacker Philadelphia has on the roster and the rest of the NFL is starting to take notice.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.