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Philadelphia Eagles Post-NFL Draft Depth Chart: Defense (2016)

Let's take a look at the Eagles projected depth chart now that the 2016 NFL Draft is over.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a total of eight new players from the 2016 NFL Draft. The team also added 16 signings via undrafted free agency. Now let's take a look at what the team's 2016 projected depth chart looks like with respect to these draft additions. We reviewed the offense yesterday. Today we'll look at how the new 4-3 defense is shaping up under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. (Before we get started, look at how different the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)

Defensive Tackle

1) Fletcher Cox

2) Bennie Logan

3) Mike Martin

4) Taylor Hart

5) Beau Allen

6) Connor Wujciak

7) Aziz Shittu

8) Destiny Vaeao

Cox is the best player on Philadelphia's defense. He's one of the best defenders in the NFL. The 25-year-old is due for a big contract. He should be even more dangerous in a scheme that lets him attack more often than the 3-4 did. Opposing offensive lineman need to watch out. Logan is a really good and underrated player in the middle of the defensive line. Martin has some NFL experience. He's undersized but he's athletic. Hart and Allen might not be ideal scheme fits. They'll have to fight to earn their roster spots. Undrafted free agents Wujciak, Shittu, and Vaeao have a real chance to make the team. The Eagles are set with starters here but depth is a concern.

Defensive End

1) Brandon Graham

2) Connor Barwin

3) Vinny Curry

4) Travis Long

5) Bryan Braman

6) Marcus Smith

7) Alex McCalister

8) Steven Means

The top three players at this position are being paid starter's money. It's safe to say, then, that there will be a heavy rotation with Graham, Barwin, and Curry. Graham and Curry have always been more natural 4-3 defensive ends so this scheme change might help them. Barwin has experience at 4-3 end but he's been more of an ideal fit at 3-4 in recent years. Nothing is really set in stone beyond the top three. Long is coming off back-to-back season ending injuries. Braman is light for a defensive end but he's really valuable on special teams. Smith obviously hasn't lived up to being a first round pick in 2014 and now he's trying to save his career. McCalister is a talented pass rusher who needs to add some more weight. The Eagles stashed Means on their roster after signing him off Houston's practice squad last season.


1) Jordan Hicks

2) Nigel Bradham

3) Mychal Kendricks

4) Najee Goode

5) Deontae Skinner

6) Joe Walker

7) Myke Tavarres

8) Quentin Gause

Hicks is set to be the starter in the middle of the defense; the MIKE linebacker. He was on pace to be the 2015 defensive rookie of the year prior to suffering a season-ending injury in the middle of the season. Hicks is very talented. He just needs to stay healthy. Bradham is likely the SAM linebacker. He was very productive under Schwartz in Buffalo in 2014. He's looking to recapture that magic after having a bit of a down year in Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense last season. Kendricks didn't look so great for Philadelphia last year. Now playing the WIL linebacker position, he'll also be aiming to bounce back. Goode might be the top backup linebacker at any position, but especially WIL. Guys like Skinner, Walker, Tavarres, and Gause are competing for a roster spot(s).


1) Eric Rowe

2) Leodis McKelvin

3) Nolan Carroll

4) Ron Brooks

5) JaCorey Shepherd

6) Denzel Rice

7) Jaylen Watkins

8) Randall Evans

9) Aaron Grymes

10) C.J. Smith

The Eagles have a lot of bodies at this position but not a lot of top level talent. Rowe had an encouraging rookie season and has the potential to be a No. 1 corner. McKelvin has started 60 games in his eight-year NFL career. He had one of his most productive seasons while playing under Schwartz in 2014. Carroll will compete with McKelvin for a starting job on the outside. Brooks is more of a special teams contributor but could see some limited playing time on defense. Shepherd looked really good in practice last offseason before suffering a season-ending injury in training camp. If he can return to form, he'll have a shot to be the nickel cornerback. Rice, Watkins, Evans, Grymes (CFL guy), and Smith are competing for depth jobs.


1) Malcolm Jenkins

2) Rodney McLeod

3) Chris Maragos

4) Ed Reynolds

5) Jalen Mills

6) Blake Countess

Jenkins and McLeod combine to form one of the best starting safeties tandems in the NFL. Safety used to be a position that the Eagles struggled with but now it looks like they've got it right. The bad news is that there isn't a ton of depth at this position. Maragos is a special teams ace but it was apparent last year that he's not a guy you want playing a lot of defensive snaps. Reynolds held up in coverage but struggled with some missed tackles last season. A number of experts thought Mills deserved to be a Day 2 draft pick but the Eagles got him in the seventh. He could end up being the fourth safety. Like Mills, Countess has experience as both cornerback and safety.

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