Eagles are noticeably absent on a list of the NFL's top ten defensive tackles

ESPN released a list of the NFL's top ten defensive tackles, and the Philadelphia Eagles are noticeably absent from the ranking.
Jeffery Simmons, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeffery Simmons, Philadelphia Eagles / George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

The annual roster-building strategy is well-known. The Philadelphia Eagles haven't selected a linebacker during the first round of any NFL Draft since 1979. Historically, they have only drafted a defensive back in Round 1 three times (and they haven't done so since 2002).

22 times, a running back or fullback was the choice, but we all know how tailbacks are now valued these days. Still, if you're interested, Philly hasn't used an opening-night selection on an RB or FB since 1986. Thankfully, they found a damn good one in Keith Byars.

All of that has been said to say this. Howie Roseman has never been shy that everything begins in the trenches when Philly begins building its 53-man roster. That system as adopted long ago when Andy Reid was pacing the sidelines. The Birds drafted ten defensive linemen in Round 1 from 1945 to 1997. During the last four coaching eras, Andy Reid's to Nick Sirianni's, Philly has added ten defensive ends or defensive tackles to the nest from 1999 to the present (and they have selected four offenseive lineman.

Ahead of the 2023-2024 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles are again expected to field one of the best offensive and defensive lines in pro football. The O-line has been given top billing this offseason. While perusing the web, we saw the defensive line recently get a ton of love from Pro Football Focus, but that wasn't enough to convince coaches, players, and executives to show them some love during a recent ranking.

ESPN releases its list of the NFL's top ten interior defensive linemen, and the Philadelphia Eagles are noticeably absent from the position.

If you're paying for an ESPN Plus subscription, here's one you'll want to check out. Senior NFL national reporter Jeremy Fowler recently released his ranking of the top interior defensive lineman in the game. He leaned on the expertise of execs, players, and coaches to put his list together.

This story sits behind a paywall, so we won't share any quotes. What we can share os the ranking features division rivals, a former Eagles star who now works for an extended rival, and an AFC star the media and fans have fawned over from time to time. Here's a look at the top ten:

  1. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
  2. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans
  4. Quinnen Williams, New York Jets
  5. Javon Hargrave, San Francisco 49ers
  6. Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants
  7. DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts
  8. Daron Payne, Washington Commanders
  9. Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders

Don't sweat this one too much Birds fans. The list is fair, but this doesn't suggest the Birds are void of talent. Philly has some young studs at the position, and the leader of this group, Fletcher Cox, enjoyed one of the better recent seasons of his career in 2022 while enjoying a reduced role. That will continue in 2023 if the same strategy is employed.

For a team that prides itself on building its roster from the interior of the defensive line, owning the knowledge that the Eagles cupboard is stocked with Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Moro Ojomo, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu, and a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in Fletcher Cox should be enough to help you sleep soundly.

All of those guys won't make the 53-man roster. Tuipulotu has battled recent injuries and could be someone that winds up being the odd man out, but there's no cause for concern here. Philadelphia will field one of the best defensive lines in the game this year, and they're so talented that one or two guys could land on this same ranking next season.

Check out these other Eagles stories as well.