PHILADELPHIA -- An annual camp question at the NovaCare Complex reared its ugly head on the first practice of the season. Who will start at linebacker?
For the last two decades in the Philadelphia Eagles organization, that question has mostly persisted on Day 1 at training camp. The Eagles had an answer last year thanks to T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, both of whom departed in free agency.
Philadelphia had Nakobe Dean waiting in the wings to replace one of the two. The Eagles are hoping free agent signing Nicholas Morrow or a combination of Christian Elliss, Shaun Bradley or Davion Taylor can fill the void.
There's a gap in this talented roster. Philadelphia is looking to fill it.
"We've got a lot of young players at that position. We're excited to see those guys, evaluate them on a daily basis, and again, like anything, we'll keep our options open," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said prior to the first training camp practice Wednesday. "We're never going to close the door on an opportunity to improve our team, so we'll constantly be looking at that position and every position."
Morrow got the first opportunity to work with the first team in Wednesday's practice, but Elliss also worked with the 1s. Elliss earned his way up the depth chart with an impressive minicamp, having two interceptions in the open practice sessions to the media. He continued that streak with an interception in the first training camp practice Wednesday, continuing to make plays on the ball.
The Eagles don't exactly need a playmaker at linebacker, just consistency at the position. There aren't many options in free agency that are better than what is currently on the roster (Zach Cunningham, Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones are the notable names available).
The trade market is uncertain, but the two players that have been mentioned in conversation -- Patrick Queen and Devin White -- have interesting futures. Queen will be a free agent after this season as the Baltimore Ravens declined the former first-round pick's fifth-year option while White reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp and practiced on Day 1 (this after demanding a trade earlier this offseason). Both players appear to be content with their current situations.
The Eagles are going to use this training camp to let the current players on this roster sort out the situation at linebacker. Roseman has made several training camp trades in the past to improve the roster (17 since re-emerging as general manager in 2016), and will improve the position if necessary.
For now, it's up to Elliss, Bradley, Taylor or someone else on the roster to prove the Eagles right.