Why the Slide?: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Being the son of, aside from sharing the same name, of a very good NFL linebacker will get a player a lot of notice, and that was the case for Trotter at Clemson. However, Trotter was a good player for the Tigers and made a lot of tackles for them during his collegiate career. With his NFL pedigree and college production, many thought that Trotter would go on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft. However, Trotter slid to the fifth round.

In speaking to team sources, they did not see a real slide for Trotter. Teams had him graded as a backup, and that would put him into Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft on draft boards. They said they felt Trotter had limitations in pass coverage for the NFL. Given the passing-driven modern game, those limitations will sent him lower in the draft.

The Philadelphia Eagles ended Trotter’s slide in the fifth round, and that was a mixed landing spot. On the positive side, the Eagles badly need improved linebacker play, so they will be searching for short-term and long-term starters. However, Trotter is facing a crowded depth chart that could make it tough to win a roster spot. Devin White and Nakobe Dean are the projected starters, but Philadelphia has other veteran backup candidates in Zack Baun and Oren Burks. The Eagles may not carry five inside linebacker spots on their final 53-man roster, so Trotter will have to beat out one of those veterans. Trotter also could be a candidate for the practice squad. Trotter can stick, but he is going to have to fight and compete hard to establish an NFL career after being a fifth-round pick.


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