The Eagles will look to improve on many things for the future, and figuring out their defense seems to be the first step. The following players are unrestricted free agents on the defense:
- Colt Anderson DB
- Akeem Jordan OLB
- Derek Landri DT
- Dominique Rogers-Cromartie CB
- Daryl Tapp DE
Not one of these players seems suitable for a new defense headed by Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis. Davis worked well with Wade Phillips earlier in his career to implement the 3-4 defense into other teams trying to switch over. There is no news whether the Eagles will implement a 3-4 defense or stick with the 4-3 defense and not go with the useless wide-9 scheme they have been using for the past two years. Out of the five players above, only Safety Colt Anderson will get a new contract because it won’t be for a lot of money and he worked hard during the season.
That being said, if the 3-4 defense was inherited by the Eagles, this is how they would look like:
D-line: Fletcher Cox seemed to improve every single game that he played last season and he goes out to show why he is one of the few players that will stay on this team, Cox is a 6’4’’, 298 lb DT that would fit great as a defensive end in this type of scheme, he has the size and goes out to show how he has the mind set to get better through this offseason. With the releasing of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson this week, the Eagles will need to look elsewhere for another defensive end and tackle. Vinny Curry looked great last year coming off an injury in his rookie season and will increase in playing time if he gains weight. Randy Starks, who has yet to be re-signed by the Miami Dolphins would be a great fit at the other defensive end position, he has the size and talent to lead the defensive line and make them better than they have been over the past couple years. Even though he is coming out and having heart troubles, Star Lotulelei, the highly sought after NT out of the university of Utah would be a great fit at this position and using the 4th overall pick in this draft that does not look like you could find the elite future quarterback in the first round.
Linebackers: Trent Cole will have to move back and he may enjoy this new role but he will have to work hard to become a great one. I could see him becoming an excellent pass rusher but he would also have to learn to cover the pass in order to excel. Lots of weightroom activity and film work will help in his transformation but this could be a great move for him (see Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis this past year). Mychal Kendricks will be an inside linebacker and will excel in this position as well. Kendricks had 75 tackles as an outside linebacker in his rookie season and now he will look to improve. There is nothing negative to say about the play of DeMeco Ryans in his first season as an Eagle. Ryans had 113 tackles and will look to be even better next year as he leads this linebacker core. Next, a strong outside linebacker will need to be brought in and Paul Kruger looks as though he would fit that spot. Kruger had 7.5 sacks through 8 games last year and 2.5 sacks in the divisional playoff round for the Baltimore Ravens. Assuming that Kruger will not get re-signed by the Ravens because of money troubles, this linebacker core could be improving from poor to great.
Defensive Backs: These positions get extremely messy mostly because there is no talent on this side of the ball available. Dominique Rogers-Cromartie will not be back with the team next year and Nnamdi Asomugha will have to take either a large pay cut or he will be released. Assuming that he will stay with the Eagles, one more cornerback will be needed to bring in. The perfect fit is Sean Smith formerly with the Miami Dolphins. He will need to step up and be a lot better of a player than DRC is. When safeties come into play I think that Nate Allen will continue to start and will get better with other leadership and coaching. A veteran in Jarius Byrd would be a great upgrade if they can afford him. If not the Eagles need to pick a great one in the draft probably with a second round pick.
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Written by Jeff Rachlin