Philadelphia Eagles talk: Can Bruce Hector fill a much-needed void?
With all the bodies the Philadelphia Eagles have along the defensive front, it’s easy to see why someone like Bruce Hector might get ignored.
Who, exactly, is this Bruce Hector guy? The most obvious answer to that is he’s an undrafted rookie from the South Florida Bulls. We’ll discuss that in greater detail in a second. In order to understand why Hector is important, you must first understand what’s going on with the interior of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defensive line.
One of two things is likely to happen in terms of that area of Philly’s defense during the 2018 season. One, this could be a special group of guys who all flourish in the third year of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme. Unfortunately, there’s one more thing that most seem to have forgotten.
Injuries are already a concern, and this particular portion of the defense may have some serious questions about depth once the season kicks off and the games count for real.
Let’s look at defensive tackle.
It would be nice to mention a steady rotational option like Beau Allen, but he and a man who’s both his former and current teammate, Vinny Curry, are gone. Sure, the Eagles are solid on the edges, but when you look inside at the defensive line, there’s Fletcher Cox, an injured Timmy Jernigan and a man that didn’t finish the season a year ago, Haloti Ngata.
Outside of those three, the Eagles are entering camp with Winston Craig, Elijah Qualls and Destiny Vaeao as the reserves. All are unproven. That brings us back to the guy from South Florida.
As mentioned, Hector went undrafted. He’s six-foot-two and 296 pounds, so even though he’s lighter than some NFL coaches would like their defensive tackles to be, he’s still heavier than Craig and Jernigan and he isn’t much smaller than Vaeao.
Throw out the ‘he’s too small’ argument. Then, check out some of his career highlights:
Video courtesy of SouthFloridaVideo’s YouTube page
Then check out some highlights of his Pro Day:
Video courtesy of BigCountyPreps’ YouTube page
Throw out the ‘he can’t play’ argument. Hector was seen as a late round prospect by some NFL scouts. It wasn’t a surprise that he went undrafted, but it wouldn’t have been surprising if he had been either.
Here’s what was said in his NFL.com draft profile:
"Hector lacks the prototypical frame of an NFL three-technique, but he does have the active feet and the lower body strength to play strong through the edges. His frame and game are better-suited for an upfield, one-gapping defense. Hector lacks the consistency at the point of attack of teammate Deadrin Senat, but he posted more tackles for loss and sacks in three years than Senat did in four. Hector has some fans in scouting circles and could be a late round addition with a shot of becoming a backup in a 4-3 front."
He was given a grade of 5.03, which means he has a better-than-average chance to make an NFL roster.
Maybe we’ve been looking in the wrong areas for this year’s version of Corey Clement. Hector has the potential to be a steady backup or, even better, a breakout candidate.