Eagles fail to crack top ten in recent interior defensive lineman ranking

Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Fletcher Cox #91, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles‘ business model is an easy one to understand. Everything begins in the trenches. Sure, every team needs its franchise signal-caller, and they know that. The 2022-2023 NFL regular season will serve as a second audition for third-year man Jalen Hurts to see if he’s the guy. If he is, Philly will move forward. If they determine that he isn’t, they’ll adjust. Goals number two and three are obvious though.

Philadelphia wants to find guys to play along the offensive line to protect their quarterback (and open up some holes in the running game). They want to find some guys to play on the defensive line who can make life a living hell for the guys playing quarterback on the opposing teams.

Seriously, who was shocked, with needs at wide receiver, cornerback, and linebacker, when the Birds took a huge six-foot-six, 340-pound defensive tackle? We sure weren’t, and you shouldn’t have been either. Again, that’s the business model.

The Eagles fail to crack the top ten of Pro Football Network’s recent interior defensive lineman ranking.

With the first half of June behind us, Pro Football Network cranked out a ranking of the top 32 defensive tackles in pro football. As you might imagine, all-world talent and Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald tops the list. Jeffery Simmons (Tennessee Titans), Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Chris Jones (Kansas City Chiefs), and DeForest Buckner (Indianapolis Colts) round out the top five.

It’s hard to argue with a list like that one, so you won’t find any complaints here. The rest of the top ten shakes up as follows: Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers (6), Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7), Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders (8), Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons (9), Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers (10).

Have you noticed something? We haven’t named any Philadelphia Eagles yet! Should we be worried? Should we begin throwing around words like ‘snub’?

In the end, two Eagles made the top 32. Javon Hargrave lands at 14. Fletcher Cox lands at 20… And you still think Fletcher Cox is elite and the NFL sees him as one of the game’s best at his position… Shame on you!

As much as every ounce of midnight-green colored blood in our bodies wants to throw the challenge flag, it’s hard to do so. Landing ahead of Hargrave is DJ Reader (Cincinnati Bengals), Christian Wilkins (Miami Dolphins), and D.J. Jones (Denver Broncos). Sure, you can shuffle guys here and there based on personal preference, but there are no clear violations on the part of the writer of this one, Dalton Miller.

The point is this. There’s a ton of talent in the National Football League. Cox, though clearly not what he once was, is better than a ton of guys in the league. He isn’t worth $14 million, and no team would have given him that (other than Philly of course). Still, in a rotation that features rookie Jordan Davis and Milton Williams, Fletch should be able to wreak havoc from time to time.

Trending. Young defenders we expect huge seasons from. light

Hargrave is coming off of a Pro Bowl season, and deservedly so. He cooled later in the campaign but only because, after a torrid start, the double teams we normally see thrown in Cox’s direction eventually began being assigned to him. Philly has yet to sign him to an extension, but he should show and prove again during the 2022-2023 NFL campaign.

The point is this. Rankings are fun. They give us something to talk about, but in the end, despite the accuracy of Miller’s take, no one should be worried. The Eagles’ defensive line will make waves in the coming season, and like Philadelphia’s offensive front, they’re going to factor into the Birds’ success once the games begin counting towards the win-loss total.