A theme the SB Nation NFL sites have been doing throughout this season is "Which [opposing team's] player would [your favorite team's] fans take?" With the Eagles set to take on the Packers in Green Bay this week, it's time to address the question.
The following is written by Acme Packing Company writer Evan Western. Look out for the Packers player that I would take for the Eagles on APC.
The question of pulling a player from another team is a fascinating one. If we were to be looking for a short-term rental, perhaps a quarterback would be the pick given Aaron Rodgers' collarbone break. In general, though, I try to look long-term, both for the rest of the season as well as into the future when thinking about this idea.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a team with no shortage of dynamic players. LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in football, and is a deadly option both in the running game and catching the ball out of the backfield. DeSean Jackson is still his absurdly fast self, and adding him to the Packers would give them a true speed demon at wideout to help take pressure off Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Even on the offensive line, Jason Peters is an effective left tackle and Evan Mathis has had a terrific season at left guard. Finally, Fletcher Cox (who fell to the Packers in the 2012 draft in my dreams) provides consistent pass rush and run support from the defensive end position.
The problem here is that all of those positions are areas of relative strength for the Packers right now. McCoy would make a frightening tandem with Eddie Lacy, but the Packers' rookie has been a stud, especially over the last month. The receiving corps has remained steady despite the injuries, so Jackson would be a luxury only. Mathis is overruled because of Josh Sitton's Pro Bowl-caliber play, and David Bakhtiari's improvement has made left tackle much less of a sore spot than right tackle at this point.
That brings me to Fletcher Cox. When looking at the Packers' defensive line, only one player, Mike Daniels, has brought consistent pressure on the quarterback, and he only plays about 45% of the defensive snaps. With Clay Matthews and Nick Perry banged up over the past several weeks, the outside linebacker position has been almost worthless in generating sacks and pressure, which has forced Dom Capers to be more aggressive in sending defensive backs from the slot or inside linebackers on blitzes, leaving holes in coverage. Cox has been effective, especially over the past several weeks, in pressuring the quarterback, and would make a formidable three-man front with Raji and Ryan Pickett in the base 3-4 defense while still being able to rush in passing situations.
While McCoy might give the Packers a boost in the running game, that's not a weakness right now. Cox would provide interior pressure better than any other Packer defensive lineman, he could allow the linebackers to rum more freely as well, and he would hopefully free up the Packers' coordinator to blitz on fewer downs and keep more players back in coverage. Finally, both Raji and Pickett are free agents after this season, and Cox's presence on the roster would give the Packers some stability at the position moving forward after the season. Fletcher Cox is my pick.
BLG Note: Good pick. Cox has been a beast this year. He's looking like a great pick by Eagles GM Howie Roseman. It's nice to see Cox get some recognition outside of the Philadelphia market.
More from Bleeding Green Nation:
- Eagles vs. Packers: Breaking down the Odds
- Simulating the Game: Eagles vs. Packers
- BGN Radio: Eagles at Packers Preview
- Nick Foles named FedEx Air Player of the Week
- Eagles vs. Packers 2013: 5 Questions with Acme Packing Company
- Eagles-Packers Final Injury Report: Michael Vick Doubtful
- Eagles vs. Packers Fantasy Football Guide