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Rebuilt DL


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Rebuilt DL

Posted: July 7th, 2023 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

They Eagles defensive line was a key part of their Super Bowl run in 2022. I’m not talking about the pass rushers like Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham. I’m talking about the big fellas. Javon Hargrave was the star DT. Linval Joseph helped to control the middle and slow down the run. Fletcher Cox just kept making plays, despite being in Year 11.

Hargrave left in free agency. Joseph and Ndamukong Suh are still free agents. They may or may not play, depending on how things go.

The Eagles had to rebuild the DL. Some of that will be relying on young players to emerge. The Eagles also brought in outside help. They are strong believers in the DL and want to be aggressive in finding the right guys.

Dave Spadaro has an article up with some good DL quotes.

"We were strong at defensive tackle last year,” Assistant General Manager Alec Halaby said as the team’s Organized Team Activities at the NovaCare Complex wrapped up in June. "We really liked our group, but we knew that we were going to have to reshape it a little bit, that we might lose Javon, who was a great player for us. We had Suh and Linval playing a lot for us at the end of the year as well (after Davis suffered an ankle injury that forced him to Injured Reserve for four games). It is a position that we want to have a surplus at, right? It’s a bad feeling when your defense has a weakness on the interior. It can distort a lot of different parts of your defense.”

Halaby is dead on the money about needing to be strong inside.

If you go back to 1993, the Eagles had some terrific players on defense, but were struggling to stop the run. They allowed 185 yards a game over a 6-game stretch. The Eagles signed William Perry to clog the middle and that figure went down to 109 yards per game for the final eight games of the season.

The Eagles should have enough depth this year that one player won’t make that big of a difference.

DL Jalen Carter ….. Milton Williams

NT Jordan Davis … Marlon Tuipulotu ….. Noah Elliss

DL Fletcher Cox ….. Kentavius Street ….. Moro Ojomo

Five of the seven DL are young. Two are rookies. The veterans are Cox and Street. We know Cox since he’s been a mainstay of the Eagles defense since 2012. Street only has four career starts, but this will be his fifth year in the league. The Eagles have had an eye on him for a while.

"We monitored him going back to college. He tore his ACL prior to the draft in 2018. He’s had three solid years here in a row for both San Francisco and New Orleans,” Halaby said. "He’s a dynamic interior rusher, and I’d describe that as more of an opportunistic signing where free agency is ongoing, you’re looking at options, you’re talking about prices, you’re looking at who is available. There is a little bit of a dislocation in the defensive tackle market this year as prices really escalated, but we feel good about Kentavius as a player and a person.”

Street is strong enough to be an effective run defender, while also athletic enough to be a good rusher and penetrator. He can play NT, DT, 5-tech or 4-i.

Cox and Street will be important, but the young guys will be critical to the success of the DL.

"We knew going into both free agency and the NFL Draft that we had those two pathways to improve. And we had guys on the roster that we felt really good about. When you’re trying to replace a great player like Javon and his level of production, it’s not necessarily a one-for-one swap. Do we expect Jordan Davis to become a force as a pass rusher? Yeah, we do. Do we expect Milton (Williams) to continue to grow? Yeah, we do. Marlon (Tuipulotu) showed some really good things last year. So, there is internal growth. Then you look outside at the pro and college crop.”

Davis has huge potential and could become a stud this year. He played well in the Super Bowl. If Davis can build on that performance, he could be the kind of force the Eagles want in the middle of their defense.

Carter is the wild card. I listed him as a starter because of his talent, but young DTs usually take a year to get acclimated to the league. The Eagles will give him every chance to win a starting role. You don’t force limits onto a player as good as Carter. Give him a chance and see what he does.

"We thought it could really behoove us to add another foundational piece next to Jordan. Jalen Carter, special talent. We monitored him throughout the process and, as he started to fall a little bit, we thought we would have the opportunity to select him and have two foundational pieces inside.”

The Eagles see Carter as a long term piece, but certainly hope he offers immediate impact.

Williams could prove to be important if Carter struggles. Williams was outstanding in the second half of the 2022 season. He was highly disruptive and should be able to build on that.

Even if Carter plays well, Williams will be a key depth piece. It won’t shock me if he ends up starting and plays well. The Eagles were very high on him when they drafted Williams and he’s shown excellent potential in his first two years. He needs snaps as much as anything. I don’t think enough people appreciate Williams now, but that could very well change this year.

The Chiefs used a youth movement in their secondary to help them win the SB last year. Maybe the Eagles can do the same with their DL.


Davion Taylor has been a disappointing player since being drafted by the Eagles, but he seems like a good guy.

Always good to see players give back to the community, especially when it comes to helping kids.


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