The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense is about reaching expectations. The Eagles’ defense is about.. well, it’s complicated. There’s a lot more projection going on, whether it be from the young cornerback group or compensatory pick-costing depth pieces or even former first round picks looking to make a sustained splash.
On The Kist & Solak Show #105, we examine the complicated Eagles’ defense through the lens of individual production. Using the projections of Mike Clay of ESPN, we predicted some key over/unders for the Eagles roster. You can examine his box score predictions for both offense and defense in the tweet below.
The Eagles are one of the league's most complete teams, but will a fully-healthy Carson Wentz get them back to the top of the division? Here are their latest 2019 #ClayProjections pic.twitter.com/0Mxzt5qD7o— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 22, 2019
First on the docket was Fletcher Cox, with a projected 8.2 sacks which we rounded down for an 8.0 over/under. Cox has hit the over two out of seven seasons, but last year he was truly dominant with 10.5 sacks. Considering the abnormally high lightning fast release times the Eagles defense faced in 2018, it seems like a safe bet that he at least comes close to duplicating double-digit sacks. It’s rare for that top happen for an interior defensive lineman, as most years only a few hit 8 sacks in total, let alone 10.
For more on Cox’s high caliber of play in recent history, this article by Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus does well to detail why Cox is the second best interior defensive lineman in the game.
Fletcher Cox - 8 Sacks
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The other big question mark comes at defensive end. Brandon Graham’s and Derek Barnett’s sack totals could play a huge role in the overall success of the defense. Not that sacks are the end-all-be-all; they aren’t. Graham has been very consistent creating pressure, which negatively impacts all quarterbacks and creates turnovers. Still, sacks end drives and getting off the field is the ultimate goal. Perhaps Graham just gets luckier this year in converting pressures to sacks. Hitting the over on Clay’s 6.9 sack total projection would be at least his second-best season of production.
For Barnett, is this his breakout year? He had a solid run of play going until his season-ending injury last year. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to hit the over on Clay’s 6.8 sack total projection.
Who has more sacks?
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You can hear our in-depth analysis on these topics and much more - including yet another Jalen Mills vs. Rasul Douglas debate - by listening to The Kist & Solak Show #105! Hear it on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!