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Philadelphia Eagles Depth Chart: Post-NFL Draft Defense Edition

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A look at the Eagles’ projected depth chart now that the 2017 NFL Draft is over.

Cleveland Browns v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a total of eight new players from the 2017 NFL Draft. The team also signed 11 undrafted rookie free agents. Now let's take a look at what the team's 2017 projected depth chart looks like with respect to these draft additions. Yesterday we looked at the offense. Today we’ll examine the defense and tomorrow will be special teams day. (Look at how different the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)

Defensive Tackle

1 - Fletcher Cox

2 - Timmy Jernigan

3 - Beau Allen

4 - Destiny Vaeao

5 - Elijah Qualls

6 - Charles Walker

7 - Winston Craig

8 - Justin Hamilton

Cox did not have a bad season last year by any means but he wasn’t as dominant as some would have expected. Hopefully the Eagles will be able to get a bigger performance from him this year. The addition of Jernigan could really help Cox. The two players could combine to form a fearsome set of disruptive interior pass rushers who can also play the run. The depth behind the starters is unsettled. Allen suffered an offseason injury and might not be ready by Week 1. Vaeao made the roster as an UDFA last year but he’ll need another strong summer to stick around. Qualls is big and could stick on the team after being selected in the sixth round. Walker is an intriguing undrafted rookie free agent signing who could end up on the practice squad.

Defensive End

1 - Brandon Graham

2 - Derek Barnett

3 - Vinny Curry

4 - Chris Long

5 - Marcus Smith

6 - Steven Means

7 - Alex McCalister

Graham’s “holdout” probably won’t involve him missing any mandatory practices. He figures to be a key part of the Eagles’ defensive line after leading the NFL in total pressures last season. Barnett, Philadelphia first round pick, has a decent chance to start right away as a rookie. But even if he does, he’ll be splitting playing time with veteran Long and Curry. It would be ideal if Curry could push for more playing time after getting on the field for less than 50% of the Eagles’ snaps in 2016, but we’ll see if that happens. The fifth defensive end spot is likely up for grabs. Smith has a leg up since he’s a special teams contributor. Means and McCalister will have to step up and show they belong this summer. It’ll be interesting to see if McCalister bulked up at all.

Linebacker

1 - Jordan Hicks

2 - Nigel Bradham

3 - Mychal Kendricks

4 - Najee Goode

5 - Joe Walker

6 - Kamu Grugier-Hill

7 - Nathan Gerry

8 - Steven Daniels

9 - Don Cherry

Hicks is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. It’s obviously early in his career, but he’s literally on pace to post Hall of Fame level stats. It’s crazy to me how he doesn’t get more respect from a national perspective. Bradham returns to the Eagles after having a strong season in 2016. There are still some unsettled off field matters with him. Worth noting he’s playing on the last year of his contract, too. Kendricks is bound to be traded at some point, right? If not, it’s hard to imagine he’ll play much this season after only logging 26.8% of Philadelphia’s 2016 defensive snaps. Goode is a key special teams contributor and gives the Eagles some depth at each spot. Walker showed good promise before getting hurt last year. He could potentially take Goode’s spot if he shows he’s healthy. Grugier-Hill has some special teams ability, but can he show anything on defense? Gerry is converting from safety to linebacker. Like Grugier-Hill, he’s a guy competing for WILL while also trying to make an impact on special teams. Daniels could figure to be Jim Schwartz’s new version of Tulloch: a physical thumper in the middle who can defend the run but shouldn’t be on the field in passing situations. Cherry spent the 2016 season on the practice squad.

Cornerback

1 - Jalen Mills

2 - Patrick Robinson

3 - Ron Brooks

4 - Rasul Douglas

5 - Dwayne Gratz

6 - C.J. Smith

7 - Aaron Grymes

8 - Mitchell White

9 - Randall Goforth

10 - Jomal Wiltz

11 - Sidney Jones

Yikes. This cornerback group still isn’t very pretty. Mills projects to be the team’s best player right now and he really wasn’t all that great as a rookie. The team is high on him, though, and thinks he can make a jump in Year 2. Robinson gets the nod due to his veteran experience, as does Brooks assuming he’s healthy after recovering from an ACL injury. Douglas will easily have the opportunity to push for playing time but a starting job won’t just be handed to him. Gratz is another veteran presence who might be the dark horse surprise of the group. Smith and Grymes had good summers for the Eagles last year. They could push for roster spots once again. White, Goforth, and Wiltz are probably camp bodies and/or practice squad types. Jones is listed at the bottom of this cornerback depth chart due to his injury. He projects to be the team’s No. 1 cornerback in the future if he can fully recover.

Safety

1 - Malcolm Jenkins

2 - Rodney McLeod

3 - Chris Maragos

4 - Jaylen Watkins

5 - Terrence Brooks

6 - Tre Sullivan

Jenkins and McLeod combine to form one of the NFL’s best starting safety duos. Maragos isn’t a defensive contributor but is still a special teams ace. The big question here is who will be the third safety behind the starters. Watkins held that role last year but Brooks could beat him out. Undrafted rookie free agent Sullivan is a long shot in the mix.