Philadelphia Eagles News

Clayton Wakes Up To Future With Eagles

While most NFL hopefuls wait by the phone on draft day anxiously awaiting the fateful call that will change their lives, Oklahoma linebacker Keenan Clayton had no such problems.

When the Eagles called to inform him that they had used the 121st overall selection to acquire his services on Saturday, Clayton was just starting his day.

"I was actually asleep," Clayton said. "My dad just got me up for breakfast. About 10 minutes later, I got the phone call. I was still in bed."

Eagles fans shouldn't sleep on Clayton. The fifth-year senior earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors for the Sooners after accumulating 75 tackles (46 solo) to go along with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season in Norman.

Perhaps even more intriguing is Clayton's ability to switch from linebacker to strong safety, a position he played at a high level in high school before switching to linebacker at Oklahoma.

That experience accentuated his ability to cover tight ends and backs while giving him time to get used to playing closer to the line of scrimmage.

"The transition to linebacker was hard in the aspect of dealing with (offensive) lineman, being that close to the action," Clayton said. "That part was hard. As far as covering receivers, though, that was what I did at safety.

"If I was to play safety, I'd be good at covering tight ends and backs. As far as run stuffing, I can do that too. At linebacker, I had to play the run, too."

When Andy Reid was asked which player in the draft he is most looking forward to seeing on the field, Reid didn't hesitate. He wants to see Clayton and how his athleticism fits in with the team.

"He is a phenomenal player at linebacker," Reid said. "He just flies around. I'm curious to see how that correlates to what we do here in Philadelphia."

Clayton is familiar with what defense means to the City of Philadelphia.

"I know the Eagles have a very aggressive defense, that they love to attack the quarterback," Clayton said. "That's right up my alley. The Eagles are known for their defense. I'm happy Coach Reid wanted me to be part of the organization."

It sounded as if Clayton thought he may have been still dreaming.

-- Posted by Steve Lienert, 6:55 p.m., April 24

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