The Eagles, just like every other NFL team, are going to be speaking with hundreds of prospects between now and the draft in April. However, so far here at the Senior Bowl practices, I’ve seen the Eagles speak with eight prospects after practices. Six of them were pass rushers, and they all spoke with Player Personnel Executive, Phil Savage. Here’s that list, with rankings from Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, CBS Sports, and the National Football Post, just for a basic reference of where some of the draftniks currently have them rated:
|Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina||6’5″ 3/4 / 281||7||5||12||19|
|Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina||6’1″ 7/8 / 276||14||17||19||23|
|Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama||6’1″ 1/2 / 273||16||16||20||35|
|Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall||6’3″ / 265||N/A||N/A||66||79|
|Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia||6’3 3/4″ / 267||N/A||N/A||76||91|
|Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas||6’4″ 1/2 / 264||N/A||N/A||160||143|
The Eagles value the defensive line. In the past five years, they’ve drafted Brandon Graham, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Ricky Sapp, Bryan Smith, and Victor Abiamiri. That’s a pretty bad list. Still, the Eagles aren’t really hurting for good DE’s:
- The signed Jason Babin to a 5 year, $27.7 million contract last offseason, and obviously, he came through in a big way with 18 sacks.
- They have a Pro Bowl caliber player in Trent Cole.
- They traded up from 24 to 12th overall and gave up a couple 3rd round picks in the process to select Brandon Graham. Graham’s career path is very much in question after having microfracture surgery. Still, Graham is pretty much a sure-fire bet to have a roster spot in 2012.
- They acquired Darryl Tapp in a trade with Seattle, although his cap number for 2012 could be more than what he’s worth as a reserve. He could be cut regardless of what the Eagles do this offseason.
- Juqua Parker turns 34 in May and is a free agent.
- And finally, they have CFL import Philip Hunt, who played well last season when he got his opportunities.
That’s 4 defensive ends (Babin, Cole, Graham, Hunt) that are likely to be on the roster in 2012. It’s a good bet the Eagles will add at least one more, especially if they have the versatility to rush the passer from the interior on obvious passing downs. Of the guys they’ve spoken to this week, guys like Ingram and Coples might fit the profile of guys that can move inside, a la Justin Tuck.
The Giants have a great QB, a few playmakers on offense, and an absolutely devastating defensive line. There are all sorts of holes to be found elsewhere. And yet, they won a Super Bowl in 2007, and they might win another one this season, largely on the strength of that D Line.
Don’t be surprised if they keep trying to add another impact DE in the draft until they get it right.
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