The Eagles signed Upper Darby, Pa. native Simoni Lawrence to a contract on Tuesday. A 6-0, 232-pound outside linebacker out of Minnesota, Lawrence was originally signed by the St. Louis Rams following the 2010 NFL Draft. He was released by the Rams on May 25.
It was reported on June 2 by the Delaware County Times that Lawrence had been worked out by the Eagles. The UFL also became an option for Lawrence, who was selected in the fifth round of the recently held draft by Hartford.
"Lawrence is an explosive linebacker yet undersized and can play only in certain systems at the next level," wrote Tony Pauline of TFYDraftPreview.com. "He's more of a chase and run down type of defender best suited in a one-gap scheme."
The Eagles have a lot of options at outside linebacker. Ernie Sims is the projected starter on the weak side and Moise Fokou is slotted to man the strong side. In addition to veterans like Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither, the Eagles drafted Keenan Clayton and Jamar Chaney. Another veteran, Alex Hall, and another draft pick, Ricky Sapp, have bounced back-and-forth between strongside linebacker and defensive end.
Lawrence spent the last two seasons at the University of Minnesota and last season was fourth on the team with 85 tackles including eight for loss. He also broke up four passes, netted an interception and forced a fumble. In his two years, Lawrence had 151 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions and two touchdowns. He was a defensive co-captain and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades his senior season.
A running back at Upper Darby, Lawrence rushed for 3,217 yards in his prep career. He earned all-state honors in 2005 when he rushed for 2,136 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. He spent two seasons at Valley Forge Military Academy where he made the transition to defense and recorded 107 tackles and 10 interceptions. He was the Seaboard Football Conference Player of the Year in each of his two seasons as the Cadets won back-to-back conference titles.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:45 a.m., June 8
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