Nose Tackle Bennie Logan – The 2013 third round pick, defensive lineman arrived to a brand new 3-4 defense with a great deal of promise. His collegiate experience was one of a selfless player, who chewed up blockers to free up the likes of Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, and Michael Brockers. Upon his arrival, he did not hesitate to work with veterans and coaches. Despite the desire to get onto the field of play, he grew into the nose tackle position. By mid season, the team was confident enough in Logan’s play to trade platooning nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga to the New England Patriots. From that point on, the Eagles defense played much better.
Until they got to the playoffs and faced the New Orleans Saints, a team determined to run the ball at them. Despite the running success, the Eagles continued to lean in favor of a passing defense to eliminate the dangerous threat of tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham was held below his season average, but the Saints won the game. With the weakness to the Saints rushing offense, some fans look for the Eagles to bring help to the nose tackle position in the draft. But that would be short sighted.
The nose tackle position is one of the most physically demanding positions of the NFL. Routinely double teamed, the key of the position is to stop the run and collapse the pocket inwards on the quarterback. Bennie played well in his first year, starting eight games on his way to recording 24 tackles and two sacks. His performance was at or better than some of the best nose tackles in the NFL: Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton, and Kansas City standout Dontari Poe.
The second year of a nose tackle’s career is routinely much better. The player has a better understanding of the role, the offensive strategy, and ways to play effectively. And there is that matter of the second year to get stronger. In 2013, Bennie played at 309 lbs, which is significantly lighter than most nose tackles. In 2014, I expect Bennie to come in at a stronger 325-330 lb range and play much stronger. If you want to know what a difference a year can make, watch Bennie Logan play in 2014. I think you’ll see a much improved player.