The Eagles have a lot of question marks at the defensive end position
19 February 2017 Eagles News
When you look at the Eagles, there are glaring needs at the wide receiver and running back positions. However, there is also another problem on the Eagles roster. This problem lies at the defensive end position.
When you look back on the 2016 season, the Eagles really struggled to get to the quarterback, especially at the defensive end position. The Eagles invested too much money into the position for them to give such little return.
As a team, the Eagles finished 16th in the NFL with 34 sacks. That is an average of just two sacks a game. Again, with the money invested into some of these players, you need better production. In fact, in three games this season, the Eagles went without a single sack.
Let’s look a closer look at each defensive end.
Vinny Curry was given a 5-year $47.25 million deal with $23 million guaranteed. He had just 2.5 sacks and played in only 42.5% of the defensive snaps. He was very disappointing this season.
Brandon Graham was the only defensive end on the team who played up and above his contract. He was given a 4-year $26 million deal. Although Graham did not register too many sacks (5.5), he was a constant pass-rushing threat. His efforts this season were rewarded with 2nd team All-Pro honors. Hopefully next season he can finish some of his plays.
Connor Barwin was second on the team with five sacks. However, if you watch the Eagles, he was not too good. He was easily dominated and he just didn’t fit the 4-3 scheme. Barwin is likely to be released or traded this offseason, saving the team $7.75 million. So, as bad as he was, it leaves the Eagles with just one other contributing defensive end on the roster.
That player was Marcus Smith. Smith is still on his rookie deal, so he is not costing the Eagles too much money. However, as a first round pick, his production is very below value. Smith finished the season with 2,5 sacks. But, he did show some promise especially towards the end of the season.
This brings us to today. Are the Eagles really going to go into next season trusting Curry and Smith?
When Jim Schwartz came to town, everyone had a lot of faith in Curry, they thought he would breakout. No one really knows why he struggled and got such little time, especially since Barwin was clearly not a fit. The Eagles really need him to step up.
Even if Curry steps up, the Eagles still might end of using one of their day two picks on a defensive end. The saying goes, you could never have too many pass-rushers.
A player like Hassan Reddick out of Temple is a player to look out for. If the Eagles can add a relatively high pick on a defensive end, they will be fine. If they fail to do so, they might be in trouble.
Getting to the quarterback needs to be a priority going forward. The Eagles have too many resources and invested money to get this kind of production out of this group. The front four across the board needs to pay better, not just the defensive ends, But, with Barwin likely gone, this unit is a big question mark right now.
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