Rookie linebacker Brian Rolle has been a playmaker ever since he started playing football.
Despite a standout career at Ohio State, he dropped to the sixth round of this year's draft. However, he'll have his chance to shine Thursday night against Cleveland as he worked in as first-team nickel linebacker this week, as he'll play alongside fellow linebacker Jamar Chaney.
"This is a great opportunity," said the 5-10, 227-pound Rolle. "For a guy like me, who was drafted late, to get to run with the ones is great. I've been getting compliments on how I played in the first two games so I'm not surprised I'm out there with the ones."
Last year at Ohio State, Rolle led the team with 76 tackles, including 11.5 loss. He also had 2.5 sacks and pair of interceptions as he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. Rolle's sideline-to-sideline range and tackling ability have meshed in well with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's scheme.
"I'm a guy who's fast and quick," said the Ohio State alum. "If I see something open up I'm going to get it, and the coaches love that. Coach Castillo tells us to get out there and not worry about making mistakes. I have to get out there, make every rep important, run as fast as I can, and make plays."
Rolle is confident that he can step up and produce right away. The early success of his former Ohio State teammate, and current Eagles teammate, safety Kurt Coleman, who was drafted in the seventh round last year, has given the rookie confidence that he will be given the chance to contribute so long as he works hard and is willing to learn.
"It most definitely gives me inspiration," Rolle said. "When I got here, I thought to myself, 'If Kurt can do it, I can do it.' We're both hard-working guys, and we both know what it's like to have a low profile for a few years before being given a chance. Every day, Kurt and I talk about what it takes to be great and how we can get better. I look forward to the challenge."
With the starters playing for about the first three quarters of Thursday's preseason matchup with the Cleveland Browns, the Eagles' newest nickel linebacker should see plenty of snaps. How he fairs in this new role will provide insight as to whether or not Rolle can repeat the success of teammate Kurt Coleman.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider