The Eagles might have addressed one of their draft needs with a trade today for Detroit Lions linebacker Ernie Sims, a 2006 first-round pick from Florida State.
The trade was a three-way deal with Denver and Detroit. The Eagles sent a fifth-round draft pick (137th overall, acquired from Cleveland) to the Broncos. The Broncos traded tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick (220th overall) to the Lions. The Lions traded Sims to the Eagles.
"I'm just real excited, looking for a new beginning ... I'm ready to jump in," Sims said on an early afternoon conference call with reporters. "I'm like a sponge right now."
Sims, hampered by hamstring and shoulder issues last season, was mainly a weakside linebacker in Detroit; strongside is where the Eagles seem to have their biggest LB hole. But Sims said the Lions generally just played left and right, so he was sometimes on the strongside, and sometimes covered tight ends, a big Eagles problem.
“Ernie Sims is an impact player at the linebacker position,” said head coach Andy Reid. “He brings a lot of energy to our already energized defense. We are looking forward to adding him to our team.”
“We are excited to acquire Ernie Sims,” said general manager Howie Roseman. “He plays fast, he's aggressive and his style is a great fit for our defensive scheme. He is a leader who was a team captain for the Lions and we are eager to see what he can do in our defense.”
Sims was the ninth overall selection in the 2006 draft and has since played in 59 games (56 starts) for Detroit, totaling 505 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception. Last season, Sims played in 11 games (eight starts), and compiled 49 tackles and one forced fumble.
Sims, a college teammate of Eagles defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, never developed into the star the Lions thought they were getting when they drafted him. A change in defensive schemes last year seemed to give Sims problems, reports from Detroit indicated, and with the regime that drafted him long gone, his departure wasn't a shock.
"They tried so many different solutions" in Detroit, Sims said. "Different head coaches, different coordinators, different GMs." He indicated he got lost in the shuffle of the NFL's losingest franchise.
The Eagles now own 10 picks in the upcoming draft: 1st round (24th overall), 2nd round (37, 55), 3rd round (70, 87), 4th round (105, 121), 6th round (200), 7th round (243, 244).
Sims, 6-0, 230, said he hasn't discussed his Eagles role with any coaches yet.
Asked whether he viewed Sims as a starter, Roseman said, "We’ll figure all of that out, we do. He’s a starter in the National Football League, but we’re trying to create competition. We have a lot of starters on our defense and our offense. We think he brings that.”