The best way to help the secondary in the NFL is to get pressure on the quarterback. At some point in this draft, the Eagles need to address this. Connor Barwin was used more in coverage this year, so the Eagles played more of a 4-3 under, but Trent Cole is not getting any younger. Getting a pass rusher in this draft could help a lot of the defenses problems. Here are the top five:
5. Kyle Van Noy, Brigham Young
Before the season, Kyle Van Noy was seen as one of the top pass rushers in this class. A few have surpassed him to this point, but he can still make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. Some think he is best suited as a 3-4 inside linebacker in a system that blitzed the insider backers, but he will be best used as an outside rusher. Van Noy's spin move as a pass rusher caught a lot of eyes at the Senior Bowl, but he will need to increase his repertoire to be a big-time pass rusher in the NFL. Van Noy will disappear in the run game at times, which will definitely scare some away.
4. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
There has been rumors that those in the Eagles organization really like Attaochu. He could be one of the first pass rushers taken after the the obvious three. Attaochu was able to play in two different roles during his time with Georgia Tech, and the Eagles would love to have his versatility. Attaochu played as a 4-3 defensive end, and as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Given what the Eagles do on defense, Attaochu is a perfect fit. He is an underrated pass rusher as far as technique, but he lacks elite athleticism, which is something that is coveted at the defensive end position. Should Attaochu fall to the Eagles in the second round, he might be an option for Billy Davis. Keep in mind, he is only 21 years old, so room for improvement is always there.
3. Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr's hype train has been built with his potential, but he did not get much better this season as compared to last, and that scares some away. His strength was considered to be his athleticism and the ability to run in a straight line, but with a less than elite combine, that is not in question as well. Barr "only" ran a 4.66 40 yard dash, which is not terrible. But for a guy that was considered to be the fastest end prospect we have seen, not what was expected. Barr will be a great fit with a team who uses stunts, like the San Francisco 49ers do with Aldon Smith. The problem is, he will need a great defensive lineman in front of him. Some have Anthony Barr as a top five pick, but he should fall into the middle of the first round. Yes, the potential is there, but a boom or bust pick is not what the Eagles need at this point. He has only been a pass rusher for two seasons, so there is drastic room for improvement, but for a guy who struggles to use his hands, that does not seem promising.
2. Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford says he is the best pass rusher in this class, even better than Clowney. While he may be alone on that island, you have to appreciate his confidence. In Mobile during the Senior Bowl, Ford was the best pass rusher, by far. He possesses elite speed to get to the edge, and very good ankle flexion to cut towards the quarterback. He would be a great fit for the Eagles, among other teams for his pass rushing ability. Do the Birds take him at 22? That remains to be seen, but the Eagles have to think about it if he is on the board. Ford uses his hands very well, and while he does not possess the pure talent as the next player on this list, who does?
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Clowney has been dubbed a generational player, and for good reason. He has incredible physical tools, and the best swim move we have seen in a long time. There seem to be concerns about his mental makeup and work ethic, but should he get those right we could see a potential superstar in the making. Clowney possesses rare ability to not only get to the quarterback, but he is able to move quicker than anyone in the trenches, making him an elite run-stuffer as well. Unfortunately, there is no way the Eagles can end up with him, barring something miraculous. Clowney is a fit in any system, and he will be a great player for years to come. It is not often that a player has unlimited ceiling, but the former Gamecock does.