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Meet The Eagles’ Newest Director Of Player Development: A Familiar Face

On Friday, June 3, it was reported that the Philadelphia Eagles had made some major moves in their front office. The Eagles had lost several key front office members during the offseason, including several high-ranking members of the scouting department, and several executives who left for promotions including assistant general manager gigs elsewhere.

With these departures, some new faces were welcomed into the Eagles’ leadership team. Some were external hires, including (as reported by Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia) former Broncos vice president of player personnel Matt Russell, who was named the senior personnel director/advisor, and former Steelers scouting director Brandon Hunt, who was named director of scouting.

However, one of the most notable front office moves involves a current employee and former Eagles player. As reported by Mike Kaye of Pro Football Network, former linebacker and former special assistant to general manager Howie Roseman, Connor Barwin, had been promoted to the hugely impactful role of director of player development. For a franchise on the upswing, crawling with young talent and a slew of future draft picks, Barwin is set to have a major impact on the franchise.

So, for those who aren’t familiar, who is Connor Barwin? Where did he come from, and how did he work his way up to such a critical role in the franchise?

Let’s take a closer look:

Connor Barwin: The Player

Connor Barwin is a fascinating story of overcoming adversity to achieve his dreams. Barwin was actually born deaf, and while surgery was able to repair his right ear, he remains 90% deaf in his left ear. Despite this challenge in his childhood, Barwin quickly grew into an elite athlete, selected All-State, All-League, All-Catholic, and All-District (as a senior) in football and All-League in basketball (as a junior) at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

From there, Barwin attended the University of Cincinnati. He was a backup tight end and backup forward on the basketball during his freshman and sophomore seasons, before head coach Brian Kelly moved him to defensive end. Barwin was a fast success at his new position, finishing the season with 53 tackles, 20 quarterback pressures, three blocked kicks, and a Big-East leading 11 sacks. He earned First-Team All-Big East honors and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Kudos to Brian Kelly for a great call.

Barwin’s exceptional play on the defensive side of the ball caught the attention of pro teams, and he was taken in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Barwin spent two injury-prone seasons at defensive end, before he made the move to outside linebacker in 2011. This turned out to be yet another great move for the young player.

In 2011, he set a franchise record for single-game sacks with four, while finishing the regular season with an outstanding 11.5 sacks from the outside linebacker position.

Connor Barwin: The Eagle

Following his successful run in Houston, Barwin signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Barwin would play the best football of his career as an Eagle. During his first season in Philly, he recorded a career-high 82 tackles along with 12 passes defensed.

In Barwin’s second season in Philadelphia in 2014, he recorded a dominant, career-high 14.5 sacks along with 64 tackles, and made his first and only Pro Bowl. He earned NFL Defensive Player of the Month honors in November.

Barwin would have a successful four-year run in Philadelphia, before spending his final two seasons as a member of the Rams in 2017 and the Giants in 2018.

It is no question how Barwin was quickly able to eventually move into a front-office role, as he was widely regarded as a strong locker room presence and the leader of the defense during his time in Philadelphia. Barwin would get his first opportunity to take on a formal leadership role in Philly as the special assistant to general manager Howie Roseman in January of 2020.

Looking Ahead

Connor Barwin has stepped into a great, but hugely important position. The Eagles are loaded with promising young talent. QB Jalen Hurts is entering his third season, WR DeVonta Smith is entering his second season, first-round pick Jordan Davis is overflowing with potential, and the team drafted center-of-the-future in Cam Jurgens. This is just the tip of the iceberg of young players whose development is vital to the future of the franchise.

Additionally, the Eagles have the benefit of two first-round picks in the 2023 draft.

Connor Barwin has overcome adversity throughout his football journey. From overcoming a childhood disability to changing positions three times in college and the pros, he battled his way to the mountain top as a Pro Bowl NFL linebacker. He has been a proven leader on the football field, but will that translate to his new front-office role?

We will have to wait and see.

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