Philadelphia Eagles: Javon Hargrave’s breakout year begins Week 1

Javon Hargrave, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Javon Hargrave, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

2020 free agent signing Javon Hargrave ended his first season in Philadelphia on a positive note. In his final eight games, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle posted 29 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits.

Even when he wasn’t getting the quarterback down, he was collapsing the pocket and clogging lanes in the run game. Now that he has had a full season to adjust to a 4-3 scheme, he is poised to dominate especially with Fletcher Cox by his side.

Last year, our staff at ITI called a breakout season for Josh Sweat which looked great through the first few weeks. He still had a productive third year but it wasn’t quite the breakout season by definition. That breakout could happen in 2021, and there’s reason to believe it will. Hargrave is set to have a monster year.

With the way he is able to counter the hands of offensive linemen while driving his feet forward, he is going to be in the backfield a lot. It’s pretty impressive how quickly he adjusted from playing the 0 technique most of the time in Pittsburgh to playing more of the 1 and 3 technique in Philly. Now, he is rushing downhill compared to when he was more concerned with moving laterally in the 3-4.

The Philadelphia Eagles star is set to have a big performance in Atlanta.

This Sunday, the Falcons will have some inexperienced starters on the interior offensive line. While Chris Lindstrom should hold his own at right guard, the left guard and center positions are major concerns.

Rookie Jalen Mayfield and second-year player Matt Hennessy will start. Both players have tremendous potential but asking them to deal with Cox, Hargrave, and Milton Williams this early in their careers is not a recipe for success. Atlanta is likely going to send multiple bodies at Cox for most of the game meaning that Hargrave will likely get a lot of one-on-one opportunities in the middle. Williams should get plenty of opportunities to damage both in the middle and off the edge as well.

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With Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, and Ryan Kerrigan in the mix, Atlanta could have some issues. Left tackle Jake Matthews isn’t a concern but right tackle Kaleb McGary is still working on his game and the Eagles’ defensive ends could take advantage. Not to mention, there will be times when those ends move to the interior and spell snaps for Hargrave so that he’ll be fresh upon return.

Don’t be surprised if there are more tackle-end and tackle-tackle stunts with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon than there were with Jim Schwartz. Factor in the double-a gap looks, as well as Genard Avery and Patrick Johnson coming off of the edge every once in a while in the 4-3 under looks, and the Eagles are set to dominate in the trenches.

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That’s a lot for an inexperienced Falcons’ offensive line to handle. Hargrave could sneak up on the Falcons offensive line and have a game to remember. They might have to start double-teaming him by the end of the day.

There is always a possibility that Mayfield and Hennessy show signs of their potential early on. However, even if that’s the case you have to imagine that Hargrave will still win a good amount of reps. This is a matchup he has to take advantage of in a big way. Expect a dominant performance and dominant season as a whole from Hargrave.