Georgia Interior Duo could take a prominent place

Rolling on the defensive line remains an important part of the Eagles’ plan as the team moves forward for two reasons: it’s a core organizational belief and the pillars of years of success up front – Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox – are on the wrong side of 30.

Because the advantage is a prime position in the NFL and Philadelphia just finished a season with the second fewest sacks in the NFL, the need seems obvious to most observers, but the interior is also a concern as the two starters – Cox and Javon Hargrave – are set to become free agents in 2023.

There is also a small redundancy issue in that Cox, Hargrave and rising sophomore Milton Williams are all in the best position to play three techniques for a coordinator who wants to use multiple fronts and play his DTs to zero. , a. -, three-, 4I- and 5-techniques sometimes.

Adding a natural zero-and-one technique in the mold of a Vita Vea, Tampa Bay’s dominating interior presence, would open up so much for Jonathan Gannon by freeing up Hargrave to tie up blockers, which he doesn’t. very good.

Hargrave was the Eagles’ leading passing thrower last season with a career-high 7.5 sacks, ranking second among NFL inside passing throwers behind only LA Rams superstar and future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald, according to Pro Football Focus. Conversely, Hargrave was No. 131 of 136 when it came to stopping the run and the gap at two.

Former Eagles scout and NFL Draft Network senior analyst Daniel Jeremiah remarked on the difference between what Philadelphia defenders were being asked to do under Gannon versus former coordinator Jim Schwartz, calling it a more “read and read” style. react”.

If the Eagles manage to get Georgia DT Jordan Davis in the first round, all dominoes could fall into place for Gannon. The consolation prize could be Davis’ teammate on the Bulldogs’ loaded defense, Devonte Wyatt.

“I just know Jordan Davis is a freak,” Jeremiah said. “To be that big and that athletic and make that many plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage is impressive. Devonte Wyatt is even a bit more explosive. I think either of those guys would fit that what they want to do.

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During his senior season, Davis finished with two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss, numbers that don’t seem spectacular because Georgia had so many playmakers. Davis was so dominant, however, that he won the Maxwell Football Club’s Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player in the country, and the Outland Trophy as the best inside defensive lineman.

Add to that rare physical traits at 6-foot-6 and 345 pounds and you seem to have two sides when it comes to Davis, the over-the-top generational talent, the unicorn devotees, and the ‘why didn’t he play. more ?’ the glass is half empty.

The Eagles certainly aren’t worried about the latter with a team source noting how happy Georgia needed to stay on the defensive line with the transfer gate still looming in the college game.

Travon Walker is a potential No. 1 overall pick for Jacksonville and Davis and Wyatt are expected to participate in the first round. Meanwhile, Jalen Carter is a potential top-10 pick in 2023 and the Bulldogs have already lost Jermaine Johnson, another potential top-10 pick this year, to the transfer portal and Florida State.

“For Jordan Davis, there was a lot of talk about his playing time and not playing on third downs,” Jeremiah said. “When you really dig in and look at all the numbers, and you see Devonte Wyatt and Jalen Carter, who’s probably going to be top five, top 10 picks next year, those guys are kind of all They had a bunch of guys they could play with there, including Trayvon Walker. I don’t really care.

Howie Roseman can’t control the 14 caps ahead of him, but if Davis starts to slide to the Eagles, the urge to push things with a DeVonta Smith-esque targeted trade can’t be ignored.

Wyatt, who compiled 7.5 sacks and seven tackles for the loss with Georgia last season, could be in play at numbers 15 and 18 without having to manipulate the board.

“If you want to stack blocks and play on the line of scrimmage, they can do that,” Jeremiah said of the Georgia duo. “If you want to let them take over and get on the pitch, they can do that too. I think these two kids from Georgia are good all-around players who would suit [what the Eagles want].”

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports chat host Jody McDonald every morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show ‘Extending the Play’ on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Betty K. Park