The Philadelphia Eagles Defense made major strides into becoming a adequate group last season. One of the main reasons for this was the emergence of the Defensive Line. The D-Line wasn’t expected to be a strong group, and projected to look immensely different at the start of the 2013 season. Line-up changes, and overall familiarity with the defensive scheme turned this group into a strength for the Defense. Going into the 2014 season, the Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Line has young and tremendously talented players. What can we expect for next season?
At the start of the 2013 season, the Philadelphia Eagles were transitioning from a 4-3 Defense to a 3-4. Many analysts and beat writers were quick to write off guys like Defensive Ends Cedric Thornton, and Vinny Curry because they were “poor fits” in the new scheme. Many also thought that rookie Nose Tackle Bennie Logan would play sparingly, due to the Eagles signing Isaac Sopoaga. No one was guaranteed a spot, not even former 12th overall pick Defensive End Fletcher Cox. As it turns out, Thornton and Curry turned into reliable two gap ends, Bennie Logan took over starting duties at Nose Tackle, his solid play led to the Eagles trading Sopoaga mid-season, and Fletcher Cox flashed Pro Bowl potential at his new position playing the two gap end. No one could have predicted this outcome, but the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t want it any other way.
Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, and Fletcher Cox all preformed admirably in their starting roles in 2013. They only allowed 104 rush yards a game last season and consistently held opposing Running Backs in check. The most intriguing and positive point to this is the average age of those three players. At an average age of 24 years old, this starting group has tremendous upside as a whole. The Eagles have something special brewing, they have a young D-Line that have already made their impacts felt. The only issue that plagued the Defensive line was the lack of depth behind the starters. This off-season, the team made an effort to add pieces but remain young and productive. Philadelphia drafted Defensive End Taylor Hart, and Nose Tackle Beau Allen to beef up a thin group. The team also gets back Joe Kruger, a 2013 7th round draft selection that was on IR due to a shoulder injury. Kruger bulked up 20 pounds in the off-season and has a year of learning the system under his belt. Kruger is a player that fans should definitely keep an eye on during training camp and the preseason. With Curry, Hart, Allen, and Kruger backing up the starters, the Philadelphia Eagles have a young core of guys who are talented and are immediate upgrades over last years group.
With all these pieces in place, the Defensive Line will be looking to make the leap into being one of the top groups in the NFL in 2014. The players have the confidence and belief they can accomplish this attainable goal. The Defensive Line have the necessary continuity with one another to succeed. Now heading into year two with the 3-4 scheme, the Eagles could boast a stingy run Defense that also makes lives miserable for Quarterbacks. The Eagles have the talent and experience on the D-Line to greatly impact the entire teams success. The Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Line can be scary good in the years to come. The best years are still ahead of them, but that doesn’t mean the group cant produce now. In fact, we should all expect a great season for the D-Line, and maybe even some Pro Bowl considerations for 2014. This group is oozing with potential, and they will show the nation they can ball when they step onto the field.