Eagles’ Should Have Plenty of Depth at Defensive Tackle in 2020
It seems there has been a revolving door of playersplaying next to Fletcher Cox the past few seasons for the Eagles. Injuries have robbed Tim Jernigan and Malik Jackson the chance to line-up next to the Eagles five-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro.
The team is expecting Jackson to return, after missing virtually the entire 2019 season with a foot injury and also signed former Steeler Javon Hargrave. That duo adds a combined for 47 career sacks next to Cox who has 48 career sacks.
That trio could be a problem for teams around the league.
Behind those three are Bruce Hector, Hassan Ridgeway, Albert Huggins, Anthony Rush and 2010 undrafted rookie free agent Raequan Williams.
Of the five players listed above, only Rideway was drafted. He was taken in the fourth-round by the Colts in 2016.
So while Jackson and Hargrave are more than capable starters, the rest of the group is inexperienced, meaning another injury could cause issues to the defensive tackle position.
So what does adding Hargrave to that room mean for the Eagles? NFL insider K.C. Joyner explained how he fits in next to Cox on The Sports Bash.
“I think its a great addition," said Joyner back in March when the Eagles inked Hargrave.
"He passes the eye-test, he passes the metric test in a big-time way," Joyner continued.
Hargrave gets pressure on over 10-percent of plays from his defensive tackle position, which ranks in the top 12 at the position.
"He's a guy who can collapse the pocket, he can give you up-the-gut pass-rush pressure. He's good against the run too. But his top ability is that he can help collapse the pocket.
Joyner mentioned that Hargrave's pressure is one of the key reasons the Steelers defense was able to generate so much pressure up the middle.
With the additions of Jackson and Hargrave should give that Eagles defensive ends more sack opportunities and generate more pressure, and also allow for a lot of rotation along the line at multiple spots.
The Eagles could go with a few different looks along the defensive line with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett expected to start at the ends and Cox and Hargrave expected to start at tackle.
However, don't forget the returning Jackson, who missed last season with a Lisfranc injury. Jackson was a guest of the Sports Bash back in April and said he would do whatever the team asked him to do, but clearly sounded like he would be more comfortable being a part of a three-man rotation at defensive tackle.
"If you ask me, I'd rather have a three-man rotation inside with whoever is starting," Jackson admitted when asked if he would mind bumping out to play some defensive end.
Regardless, the Eagles have some interesting options next to Fletcher Cox, something they really haven't had the past few years.