The Philadelphia Eagles’ D-line will be a force with Hargrave’s addition.
The Philadelphia Eagles expected big things from Malik Jackson when they signed the former Jaguar in 2019, but they were robbed of a chance to see how good he could be when he suffered a Lynfrasc injury in Week 1. The “Birds” defensive line played well in spite of Jackson’s absence, and everyone’s excited because he will be back in 2020.
Even without Jackson, the “Birds” defensive line accounted for 32 of the defense’s 43 sacks last season, but they still feel as though they can get better. Enter Javon Hargrave. His addition alone means that we can put a checkmark in that box.
Hargrove was signed to a three-year $39 million contract last season, and he figures to occupy the starting defensive end position next to Fletcher Cox. One can make the statement that both Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham are getting closer to the end of their careers, so Hargrave’s addition ensures the dominance of Philly’s defensive line can continue into the years that will follow.
Javon Hargrave was trending upward before joining the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles got one of the best players available in free agency. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the eighth-best interior defensive lineman last season after tallying four sacks, two additional hits on the opposing quarterback, 43 hurries, and forced one fumble. Take a look for yourself.
Last year wasn’t an anomaly. Hargrave has steadily improved every year since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the third round of 2016’s NFL Draft. As a rookie, he raked in two sacks and 18 hurries. He also scored his first and what’s been the only touchdown in his professional career.
In 2017, we didn’t see anything different, and Hargrave continued showing signs that he could cause massive disruption at the line of scrimmage. He’d see less snaps (455 total as opposed to 493 as a rookie), but the rest of the statistical line was almost identical (three sacks, two additional quarterback hits, and 15 hurries.
Hargrove kept improving in 2018 and finished the year with a career-high seven sacks and a pass breakup. Last season, he saw the most playing time he’s seen as a professional (680 snaps), but he only registered four sacks. He did, however, tally 49 quarterback pressures as he finished the campaign with an overall grade of 84.3 from PFF overall grade, the highest mark he’s been given.
What should the Philadelphia Eagles expect from Javon Hargrave in 2020?
Hargrave’s contract means Philly probably intends to make him a starter. Jackson can spell both he and Cox from time to time (he can also play on the edge if need be). Hargrave’s presence takes some of the pressure off of Cox and allows both to make plays. In 2019, Cox saw the field for 479 snaps. Could you imagine what he’d be capable of if he was well-rested? Might we be talking about 500 to 600 snaps in 2020?
Whatever happens, Hargrave has the tools to reproduce what we saw from him last year. Don’t be surprised if he outdoes himself and finishes his first season in Philadelphia with career highs in both sacks and quarterback pressures once again. He completes what might now be the best defensive tackle rotation in the NFL.