(Photo: Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports)
A seemingly forgotten need due to the great wide receiver class coming out in 2020 is the EDGE rusher. The Philadelphia Eagles had 43 total sacks in 2019 and 10 of them were during the Jets game. If we take that game out the birds would rank 23rd in the league in sacks and even keeping the game they are just 13th. Big Al brought you, Alton Robinson, yesterday. Let us take a look at the 6’3″ (some places say 6’4″) 264-pound defensive end Walk On out of Michigan State, Kenny Willekes (pronounced WILL-uh-KISS).
What did he do in College?
Kenny didn’t see any playing time until his sophomore year when he earned 3rd Team All-Big Ten honors for 2017. He led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss (73 total) and seven sacks. The 2018 season was even better, winning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He finished in the top 10 nationally with tackles 20.5 for loss (78 total) and led MSU with 8.5 sacks. The NFL Draft was now a possibility until he broke his left fibula in the final game of that season. In his 2019 senior season, we saw more of the same from Willekes. He won 2nd Team All-Big Ten Honors and leading his team in…..Yup you guessed it, tackles for loss with 16 (78 total). He added 10.5 sacks with 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
How does he fit in Philly?
A projected Day 3 draft pick, Willekes fits wells into the Eagles 4-3 scheme. He could wreak havoc when Jim Schwartz dials up the Wide-9 because it would allow him to slash and attack the line of scrimmage from a wider angle playing to his strength. The City of Philadelphia would LOVE him too because of his relentless effort and heart shown on the field. He is a disruptive player that just never gives up or runs out of gas. BUT the experts say he doesn’t have the “athletic profile” or “physical tools”.
Kenny Willekes continues to prove the doubters wrong time and time again. He just “walks on” and keeps pushing harder blocking out the noise. Who is to say he doesn’t do the same at the NFL level? I have a funny feeling he makes it bigger than expected and I hope the Philadelphia Eagles are the team that takes the chance on him.
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