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Eagles depth chart following the 2020 NFL Draft: Defense edition

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Looking at how Philadelphia’s roster is shaping up.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Now that the two major offseason acquisition periods — the start of free agency and the NFL Draft — have passed, let’s take a look at how the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2020 projected depth chart is coming together. We reviewed the offense on Wednesday. We’ll continue today with the defense before next moving on to special teams (yes, seriously). After that, we’ll post our first 53-man roster projection for the 2020 season. For perspective, you can click here to look at how the roster looks compared to last year at this time.

DEFENSIVE END

1 - Brandon Graham

2 - Derek Barnett

3 - Josh Sweat

4 - Genard Avery

5 - Daeshon Hall

6 - Shareef Miller

7 - Joe Ostman

8 - Casey Toohill

Graham, who turned 32 earlier this month, is coming off his second highest single-season sack total. The Eagles would really like to see Barnett step up and have a breakout year. Sweat could be the top defensive end off the bench after showing some flashes last year. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn recently hinted that Vinny Curry could be re-signed so the Neptune, NJ native might be the fourth end. The Eagles traded a 2021 fourth-round pick for Avery but he doesn’t project to be more than a rotational player as a fourth or fifth (or lower) defensive end. Hall is likely to begin the season on physically unable to perform (PUP) after suffering an ACL tear in Week 17 last year. Miller isn’t a lock to make the team; he’ll have to earn his spot. Ostman was having a good training camp last year before suffering an ACL tear; he might be able to sneak on to this year’s roster. Toohill needs to get stronger; he could be a phantom IR or practice squad candidate.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

1 - Fletcher Cox

2 - Javon Hargrave

3 - Malik Jackson

4 - Hassan Ridgeway

5 - Anthony Rush

6 - Bruce Hector

7 - Albert Huggins

8 - Raequan Williams

The Eagles need Cox to be more productive than he was last year when he only had 3.5 sacks, the second lowest total of his career. Rotating Hargrave and Jackson, who both have pass rushing juice, should help to keep Cox fresher. Ridgeway is a perfectly solid fourth option behind the main trio. Rush, Hector, Huggins, and Williams are battling it out for a fifth spot that may or may not exist.

LINEBACKER

1 - Nathan Gerry

2 - T.J. Edwards

3 - Duke Riley

4 - Jatavis Brown

5 - Davion Taylor

6 - Shaun Bradley

7 - Alex Singleton

8 - Dante Olson

Kind of crazy how the Eagles are currently projected to go into a season with Gerry as their top linebacker. The Eagles are also high on Edwards, an undrafted rookie free agent signing last year. Riley is a good bet to make the team with the Eagles making him their special teams captain once Kamu Grugier-Hill’s season was over. Brown could earn a starting role but his contract does not even guarantee he makes the team. Taylor doesn’t seem ready to contribute on defense in Year 1 but he can help on special teams. Ditto for Bradley. Singleton had some nice moments in the preseason last year and will push for a depth spot. Olson could be a practice squad option.

CORNERBACK

1 - Darius Slay

2 - Avonte Maddox

3 - Nickell Robey-Coleman

4 - Sidney Jones

5 - Cre’Von LeBlanc

6 - Rasul Douglas

7 - Craig James

8 - Trevor Williams

9 - Tremon Smith

10 - Grayland Arnold

11 - Michael Jacquet

12 - Prince Smith

Slay is the No. 1 corner the Eagles have lacked for some time, assuming he staves off injury and decline. Maddox is reportedly the favorite to start across from Slay despite lacking ideal size. NRC is the favorite to start at nickel corner. Jones could push for a starting spot on the outside or the slot. LeBlanc will also compete for the starting slot job and could be the top backup there. Douglas might be traded or cut before the season starts. James was low key pretty good on special teams last year. Williams has starting experience in the NFL and is an interesting dark horse roster candidate. Smith has return ability but that’s less valuable now with the Eagles adding other options there (Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, etc.). Arnold, an undrafted rookie free agent signing, had a draftable grade from the Eagles and Howie Roseman mentioned him unprompted during two post-draft interviews. BGN has heard the Eagles like Jacquet, another UDFA. With the Eagles talking about “position-less players” in the secondary, it’s possible we’ll see some of these corners get looks at safety. And vice versa with the safeties.

SAFETY

1 - Rodney McLeod

2 - Jalen Mills

3 - Will Parks

4 - K’Von Wallace

5 - Marcus Epps

6 - Rudy Ford

McLeod is poised to be the free safety despite his struggles in 2019. Maybe being a year further removed from his 2018 ACL/MCL injuries will really help him. Mills is projected to be the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins replacement, which is no small task. Parks is the favorite to be the No. 3 safety in the old Corey Graham and Andrew Sendejo role. K’Von Wallace will also compete for playing time. Epps and Ford probably max out as special team contributors.