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Eagles reportedly host former second-round pick on free agent visit

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More DL depth on the way?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Terrance West wasn’t the only former Ravens player at the Philadelphia Eagles’ headquarters on Tuesday. Baltimore’s 2012 second-round pick, Courtney Upshaw, was also at the NovaCare Complex on a free agent visit, according to NFL insider Field Yates.

I wrote about Upshaw as a potential Eagles target earlier this offseason.

Upshaw was a second-round pick (No. 35 overall) by the Ravens in the 2012 NFL Draft. The former Alabama star hasn’t made a big impact in the NFL. He only played 226 snaps in a rotational role with the Falcons in 2017. If Vinny Curry is traded (or cut) and the Eagles are looking for a cheap defensive end to bring in, the 28-year-old Upshaw could fit the bill.

Upshaw played at defensive tackle last season, and the Eagles are potentially going to be without Timmy Jernigan for at least four to six months, so it would seem Philadelphia views him as an interior defender.

For what it’s worth, some Falcons fans wanted to see Upshaw return to Atlanta this offseason.

Upshaw has been, when healthy, the definition of a solid rotational defensive lineman. He can play inside and outside, though his size and skill set play better in the middle of the defensive line, and he’ll give you a little bit of pass rushing prowess and solid run-stopping acumen for 10-20 snaps per game.

If that sounds like an eminently replaceable player, well sure, it kinda does. But Upshaw is cheap and has done more in his limited snaps than many of the rotational guys the Falcons have had on the roster in recent years, from Malliciah Goodman to Kroy Biermann. He’s a strong player who muscle his way into the backfield, and he can sometimes surprise you with his ability to chase down quarterbacks, even if he only had a couple of sacks over the last two seasons. For a team that currently has exactly two defensive tackles under contract with significant NFL experience, Upshaw’s a sensible re-signing.

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I’ve been waffling on Upshaw for a solid month now, but ultimately I think he’ll be back. He’s a solid player who won’t make a lot of money, and the Falcons could lose multiple players along their defensive front this year, particularly on the interior. If he stays cheap, Upshaw makes a lot of sense for Atlanta, particularly with a largely one-dimensional run stopper like Ahtyba Rubin looking unlikely to return, and thus figures to have a good shot to return.

Cheap, versatile, experienced. This could be a sensible depth signing for the Birds, especially in light of the Jernigan injury.

The Eagles currently only have Fletcher Cox and Haloti Ngata as reliable starters at defensive tackle. Young players such as Elijah Qualls, Aziz Shittu, and Bruce Hector have potential but they’re not proven contributors. Signing Upshaw would give the Eagles more certainty behind Cox and Ngata.