NFL.com Ranks Eagles One of Top Defensive Lines in NFL
The Philadelphia Eagles had a pretty good argument for having one of, if not, the NFL’s best defensive line last year – and they added major piece on the defensive line this offseason. But adding Michael Bennett to play alongside Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan wasn’t quite enough to land the No. 1 spot on NFL.com’s list of best D-lines.
The Eagles just missed the top spot, ranking right behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles might still boast the deepest D-line in football, but this is far from the same group that helped win a Super Bowl. Vinny Curry has essentially been replaced by Michael Bennett, whose versatility to play inside should come in handy. Haloti Ngata was brought in to take Beau Allen's old spot and could wind up with a bigger role than anticipated because of injuries. Brandon Graham recently underwent ankle surgery and Tim Jernigan's late-April back surgery was serious enough for the Eagles to reportedly take guaranteed money out of his contract.
There are a few inherent risks to this group because of age (Ngata, Bennett, Chris Long) and injuries, but the ceiling is higher than a greased pole reaching to heaven. 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett's development is the X-factor, but anyone is going to look better playing next to Fletcher Cox, a man strong enough to toss 320-pound Pro Bowlers aside like empty pizza boxes.
The Eagles appeared so high on the list because of their depth, the addition of Bennett and the expected development of Barnett, but there was some concern with age.
While they did lose Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, adding Bennett and DT Haloti Ngata could make them just as good this season, if not better.