Eagles’ Key Defensive Players: Who’s In, Who’s Out


Dec 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (97) tackles New York Giants running back David Wilson (22) behind the line of scrimmage in the first half during the game at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Now it’s the defense’s turn to go under the microscope. It isn’t a secret: the Eagles defense was terrible last season and there will be a number of renovations that take place this offseason. There were only a couple of players who played to expectations last season and many of the underachievers ultimately sealed the fate of departed head coach Andy Reid. Here is my take on the Eagles defense–let’s look at who is in and who is out.

Trent Cole: Trent Cole saw a significant drop in his numbers, to say the least. His sack totals were way down and his intensity seemed to be lacking. Even with that being said, it’s unlikely the Eagles will cut their best pass rusher. Stay

Brandon Graham: Graham was the most impressive defensive end on the Eagles squad last year. After the Eagles cut Jason Babin and went back to playing a traditional 4-3 defensive front under line coach Tommy Brasher, Graham finally showed glimpses of his first-round talent. He will most likely enter next season as a starter based on his performance at the end of last season. Stay

Cullen Jenkins: Cullen Jenkins struggled last year. But were the veterans struggles due to a lack of production from the entire unit, or is no longer an effective player? With the Eagles likely switching to a hybrid 3-4 under Billy Davis, Jenkins will give the Eagles depth at defensive end, the position he played in Green Bay. Stay

Fletcher Cox: Cox played very well last year and is only getting better. Stays

Derek Landri: Landri, whose production also suffered a year ago, is best suited for a 4-3 scheme and there is no place left for him on this roster. Cut

Cedric Thornton: Thornton is big enough to play a NT in a 3-4 scheme and is the only available option currently on the roster that can do so. I see him fighting for a spot in August. Stays (For Now)

Demeco Ryans: Ryans played well last year and showed he can be the anchor and leader of the defense. There is a lot of skepticism about whether or not he can play in a 3-4 scheme after he was dumped in a trade by the Texans last offseason. He may not be an ideal fit, but he is good enough for now. Stays

Mychal Kendricks: Kendricks had a solid rookie season. He showed he has a strong tackling ability and demonstrated his speed as an outside backer. He had his share of growing pains, but still showed a lot of promise. He’s likely to play ILB in a 3-4. Stay

Jamar Chaney: I wasn’t high on him going into the season and I am not high on him now. Chaney will likely land elsewhere, but needs a change of scenery Cut

Nnamdi Asomugha: He has been the most disappointing player from the Dream Team. He was supposed to be a shut-down corner, but was anything but. Still, if he is willing to rework his deal,he could stay in Philadelphia. I just don’t see it. Cut

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Didn’t play well last year, but showed that when his head was in the game that he still can play to his former Pro-Bowl status. If the Eagles do cut Asomugha, they’ll need someone to play corner besides Boykin. Stay

Brandon Boykin: Played very well as a rookie, both as a kick returner and as a corner back. Likely to see increased playing time next season. Stay

Nate Allen: Allen hasn’t played well in his 3 years as an Eagle. He currently has one year left on his deal, so I think the Eagles should give him one last try to prove he was worthy of a second round pick. Stay

Kurt Coleman: I love his intensity and the fact that he always plays hard. That being said, Coleman just isn’t very good. His instincts are sub-par and makes too many mistakes. Cut

Colt Anderson: Anderson may be undersized, but showed his ability to be active in run support. He was known for his special teams play, but when he got the chance to spot start at safety he ended up showing he was a productive player. Anderson isn’t a starter, but is the type of player winning teams have on its roster. Stay

Additional Keepers: Vinny Curry, Casey Mathews, Akeem Jordan, Brandon Hughes, Curtis Marsh

Additional Cuts: Antonio Dixon, Phillip Hunt, Darryl Tapp, David Sims,