clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Eagles depth chart following the 2019 NFL Draft: Defense edition

New, comments

Closer look at Philadelphia’s roster.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a total of five new players from the 2019 NFL Draft. The team also signed 10 undrafted rookie free agents. Now let’s take a look at what the team’s 2019 projected depth chart looks like with respect to these draft additions. We reviewed the offense on Monday. Now we’ll examine the defense and tomorrow will be special teams day. Then I’ll make a 53-man roster prediction on Thursday. (For more fun, look at how the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)

DEFENSIVE END

1 - Brandon Graham

2 - Derek Barnett

3 - Vinny Curry

4 - Chris Long*

5 - Josh Sweat

6 - Daeshon Hall

7 - Shareef Miller

8 - Joe Ostman

Graham only had four sacks last year but he also entered the season following ankle surgery in May 2018. The Eagles’ Super Bowl hero should be more effective in 2019. Philadelphia really needs Barnett to step up in a big way this season. The 2017 first-round pick showed some improvement before getting hurt last season but he needs to be even more threatening as a pass rusher this year. Curry returns to Philly as a “backup” but he’ll still play a lot since the Eagles heavily rotate their defensive ends. He’s yet another player the Eagles are counting on to rebound this year since injuries limited him to 2.5 sacks with the Buccaneers last season. Long is currently under contract for 2019 but it’s unclear if the 34-year-old will actually play for the Eagles or just retire inside. He seems to be leaning towards retirement but nothing has been made official just yet. It’d be really nice if Long does come back for one more season. Sweat has much to prove after not showing a whole lot as a rookie. Can the Eagles actually count on their 2018 fourth-round pick to be one of their top four ends if Long isn’t back? Hall is a dark horse to keep an eye on. The 2017 third-round pick has an elite athletic profile and he flashed in limited playing time last year. I have Hall above Miller, who I don’t think the Eagles are counting on to contribute much in Year 1. Maybe Miller is a phantom IR candidate? Philly’s coaching staff and front office alike have long sung the praises of the mighty Ostman. I don’t know if he’s more than a really good practice squad player to have around but he’ll certainly do his best to make the roster.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

1 - Fletcher Cox

2 - Malik Jackson

3 - Tim Jernigan

4 - Treyvon Hester

5 - Hassan Ridgeway

6 - Bruce Hector

7 - Anthony Rush

8 - Kevin Wilkins

Cox is only 28 years old; he’s still very much in his prime. Jackson’s presence is such an upgrade over the non-Cox defensive tackles options in 2018. His pass rush ability should allow the Eagles to generate even more interior pressure. If healthy, Jernigan figures to be a very good third defensive tackle who can both stop the run and push the pocket. Hester is perfectly fine to have as a fourth guy in the mix. Ridgeway will push for a fourth or fifth spot after the Eagles traded a late seventh-round pick to acquire him. Hector, Rush, and Wilkins are likely competing for a practice squad spot at best.

LINEBACKER

1 - Nigel Bradham

2 - Zach Brown

3 - Kamu Grugier-Hill

4 - L.J. Fort

5 - Nathan Gerry

6 - Paul Worrilow

7 - B.J. Bello

8 - T.J. Edwards

9 - Alex Singleton

10 - Joey Alfieri

We could see Bradham move to middle linebacker now that Jordan Hicks is gone. Bradham has experience calling the defense. The same can’t be said for Brown, who has a reputation for not always being the most assignment-sound player. Still, Brown has talent and should make some plays. Grugier-Hill might resume his role as the team’s weakside linebacker but Fort could push for playing time. Gerry is fighting to make the team. Worrilow’s versatility and special teams contributions could earn him a roster spot if he proves he’s healthy enough to play well after coming off the ACL injury he suffered in May 2018. Edwards might be able to sneak onto the roster. If not, he’ll be competing iwth the likes of Bello, Singleton, and Alfieri for a practice squad job.

CORNERBACK

1 - Ronald Darby

2 - Jalen Mills

3 - Avonte Maddox

4 - Sidney Jones

5 - Rasul Douglas

6 - Cre’Von LeBlanc

7 - Josh Hawkins

8 - Jeremiah McKinnon

9 - Jay Liggins

By far the most difficult position to decipher. There are a lot of question marks with this group. When is Darby going to be healthy to play after suffering an ACL tear in November 2018? When is Mills going to be ready after dealing with a foot injury that turned out to be much more serious than originally believed? Where does Maddox line up in the secondary? He seems too good to be not be on the field in some capacity. How does Jones — who the team is seemingly still high on — fit in? And can he stay healthy? Maybe Douglas starts the season on the outside if Mills and/or Darby are missing game(s)? LeBlanc played well late in the season last year but is he going to be able to get on the field in 2019? The Eagles’ offseason practices should give us some more clarity in terms of where guys are lining up. I think the coaching staff will start Darby and Mills if they’re healthy. Until they are, it could be Jones and Douglas on the outside with Maddox playing in the slot. Lots of different options here.

SAFETY

1 - Malcolm Jenkins

2 - Rodney McLeod

3 - Andrew Sendejo

4 - Blake Countess

5 - Tre Sullivan

6 - Deiondre’ Hall

7 - Godwin Igwebuike

Jenkins reportedly hasn’t been attending offseason practices; there’s speculation he might want a new contract. He’s certainly deserving. Pay raise or not, Jenkins once again figures to be an incredible important starter for the Eagles. It’s unclear if McLeod will be ready to play Week 1 after suffering a major knee injury last September. It’d be nice to have him healthy. Sendejo is the current favorite for the third safety spot ... assuming the Eagles don’t cut him to save a fourth-round 2020 compensatory pick and $800,000 in cap space. Countess can essentially be this team’s new Chris Maragos: a top special teams contributor who provides some emergency depth at safety. Sullivan’s defensive snap counts in the Eagles’ two playoff games: 75% and 51%. A strong summer from Sullivan could encourage the Eagles to move on from Sendejo. The Eagles traded for Hall during final cuts last year but didn’t trust him to play much. This will be his first full offseason with the team so he’ll have a better chance to prove himself. Igwebuike is probably just a depth guy. It’s worth noting that Maddox could be in the mix at safety as well.