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Eagles Draft Preview - Defensive End

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This week my plan is to look at all major areas of a the team and talk about what the Eagles may do early in the draft to improve. First, defensive end.

There's a bit of a numbers problems with DE on this team. Last year they carried 5 DEs and it appears that most of those guys have a roster spot locked up.

Trent Cole, he's pro bowler that is going to take most every snap at one end in a given game. He's obviously not going anywhere.

Victor Abiamiri was just drafted last year in the second round. That's a high pick and a big investment, he'll be expected to play a significant amount of snaps if not start. My guess is that the Eagles are hoping he wins the starting job.

Just signed this offseason is Chris Clemons who is going to play situationally and is absolutely going to be on the roster. He was given a nice signing bonus so obviously he basically can't be cut.

The artist formerly known as Juqua Thomas now Juqua Parker is probably the presumed starter opposite Cole at this point, although like I said the Eagles probably hope Abiamiri wins that job. That said, Juqua was just re-signed last year and has proven himself at least a decent depth guy. I think it's pretty close to certain that he's on the roster. Plus, cutting him this year would cost the Eagles $3.2 million in dead money on the cap this year.

Then we have the elder statesmen of the crew, Darren Howard. Howard still has some value as a guy that can play inside or out on the line and the team wouldn't really save much by cutting him. He's clearly the guy in the most precarious position amongst this group. I think what we do at DT could also affect Howard's future.

That's 5 DEs, 4 of which are almost locks to be on this team next year. I just don't see the point in spending a first round pick on yet another DE. Especially considering how young we are the position. Darren Howard is the only guy in the group that's 30 or over.

Of course, if the right guy fell into their lap... you never know. The blue chip defensive ends in this draft are Chris Long from Virginia and Vernon Gholston from Ohio State, both of whom should be long gone before the Eagles pick. However, if a guy like Phillip Merling or Derrick Harvery dropped to them the Eagles could always take one if they thought one was the best player available. That said, I wouldn't put my money on the Eagles taking a DE on this first day.