Image courtesy Philly.com
Over the next few days, Pattison Ave will be addressing the Eagles free agents needs while evaluating each position.
Current position addressed: Defensive Line.
What the Eagles defensive line lacks in experience, it certainly makes up for with productivity. The Eagles boost a starting front line that averages just 25 years of age. The best of the bunch is Fletcher Cox, a fourth year defensive end from Mississippi. Cox has grown into his role as a 3-4 end, and routinely needed double teams from opposing offensive lines to be stopped.
Opposite Cox is combination of Cedric Thornton and Vinny Curry. Curry, who was second on the team in sacks while playing just over 30 percent of the snaps, should be in line for increased playing time. Thornton is currently a restricted free agent who the Eagles have yet to tender.
The man in the middle is third year pro Bennie Logan from LSU. The Eagles boast a solid group of depth lineman that makes the defensive line one of the strongest in the NFL.
Despite the depth the Eagles have along the defensive line, the line wore down by the end of the year and struggled to get to the quarterback. Despite being in a 3-4 defense, and much pressure coming from the outside linebackers, the line needs to be more consistent.
If they Eagles look towards improving an already strong unit, here are three options that could potential additions.
- Da’Quan Bowers: Five years ago, Bowers was mocked to be the first overall selection in the NFL draft. A knee injury dropped the Clemson product to the second round, and he has yet to gain a solid footing yet in his career. Bowers is big for a defensive end (6’4” and 288 pounds) and could provide help against the run as he finds the right situation for success.
- Jerry Hughes: The former Bills defensive end recorded 10 sacks last season and has 25 for his career. The TCU product wont come cheap, but he could be a replacement for Trent Cole if he is willing to learn how to play outside linebacker.
- Terrance Knighton: This is more of a pipe dream, but any time a productive player from Temple hits the open market, they should always look to come home. Knighton will be amongst the most sought over defensive tackles, as he is adept at collapsing the pocket. Knighton will be looking for a big payday, and it is rumored he will follow his former defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to Oakland.