Why the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line can excel in 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has set up a line that can terrify opposing offenses in 2017.
The Philadelphia Eagles made some significant moves in the 2017 offseason, most of which coming via free agency. But a few key moves came through the draft. Both the offense and defense are likely to see major improvements this season.
The Eagles used their first-round pick on defensive end Derek Barnett. He was a force during his collegiate career. The Eagles are hoping he can do a little bit of that in the pros too. He has turned a few heads during OTAs. Sure, it doesn’t count as much, but as a rookie this is where Barnett gets to set his first impression. Coaches have been praising his work ethic, and think he can excel in Jim Schwartz’s system.
A big addition to the defensive line was Timmy Jernigan. Philly gave up a third-round pick for the former Baltimore Raven. Jernigan fills the void that was left by Bennie Logan. He might actually be an upgrade over Logan. Jernigan is younger, cheaper and a much better pass rusher.
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Chris Long is a veteran addition who just came off a Super Bowl year with the New England Patriots. They brought him in to provide leadership and compete with some of the younger linemen for playing time. A veteran of his caliber can help the youngsters become great. While he’s up there in age, he still has the push to get to the quarterback.
We all know what Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox can do. They are proven members of the defensive front. With offenses having their focus on these two, the other guys can find a way to get to opposing quarterbacks. Barnett and Jernigan can thrive with Cox and Graham, which will solidify the starting front four for the Eagles. And with players like Long and Vinny Curry, they also have the depth behind a solid starting 4. If the Eagles can generate a steady pass rush, they can help their corners out and help the offense as well.