Three Eagles who are set to stand out in 2017: Defense edition

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As the 2017 offseason crept up on us, the consensus amongst the media and fans alike was that the birds needed to add talent to the outside positions on both sides of the ball. As free agency went on, Howie Roseman and company continued to add low risk, high reward, athletes to come in a compete to help this young team. Aside from the splash signing of Jefferey, the Eagles brass kept disciplined by finding players who would help the team in all phases.

These things in addition to a seemingly strong 2017 Draft has the roster looking a lot stronger than most people expected at this point. Upon closer inspection, it is easy to find a hand full of offensive players that could have great seasons in large part due to the additions early on. But on the other side of the ball, you see a defense that has the potential to be stand at the top of the pack. After all the new faces, we decided to look into the birds that could benefit the most from the talent placed around them.

 

DT Fletcher Cox:
Arguably the best player on the Eagles defense, Cox was considered a bit of a let down after signing a mega deal last offseason. With the change from a 3-man front, to a 4-man, Eagles coaches and fans alike, were expecting a huge impact from their “100 Million Dollar man”. That giant season never came..at least in the way of sacks or statistics.

When you study the tape, you see a player who at times was a very dominant force, but was just getting used to being the man. Now with the additions, of DT Timmy Jernigan, DE’s Derek Barnett and Chris Long, to go along with D-line Monster Brandon Graham, it isn’t hard to fathom why Cox could end up being the player everyone expected and showed once in a while last year. Now that offensive lines can’t afford to focus on only Cox, he will see a lot more one-on-one situations…and that in itself is a nightmare for offensive coordinators.

 

LB Jordan Hicks:
Considered the Quarterback of the Eagles defense, Hicks has been nothing short of dominant in his short career. Even though he’s already a difference maker, one has to wonder if Hicks could be even better in 2017? Being that he is still young, as he enters his 3rd season, and second full offseason in the new scheme, it’s not that hard to imagine.

Add that to all the new additions, and the Eagles could be looking at one of the best linebackers in the NFL. The talent is obvious, with his pure speed to play sideline-to-sideline, his strong coverage ability, dominant run play, and outstanding knowledge of opponents offensive schemes. Now considering the talent upfront, and it is easy to picture Hicks being even better. Now that the Eagles house an even stronger front seven than last year, the potential of Hicks causing even more issues for offenses, shoots through the roof.

 

S Malcolm Jenkins:
When you watch the game tape on the Eagles All-Pro captain, you see a guy who can make any and every play. He can play in the box and help stop the run game, or he can cover from anywhere on the field and help shut down a passing game. Ironically enough, it’s there that Jenkins, has the biggest issue. Despite Jenkins being the force he is on Sundays, the problem was that the defense lacked other playmakers on the backend. Because of that, Jenkins can be seen on different occasions trying to handle his task, all while keeping his an eye on other players jobs.

The addition of S Rodney Mcleod was a great start last year, but it could be the additions of Rookie CB Rasul Douglas, veteran CB Patrick Robinson, and second year Corner Jalen Mills, that could prove to be the difference for Jenkins. It’s still early in the offseason, but it is apparent the CB position is already in a better way…not that it could of gotten a lot worse. But there is a true confidence around the NovaCare Complex about this young defense, a lot of it having to do with the front seven and the new look defensive backfield. We are still a long ways off, but with the addition of these young talents we could be treated to a whole new level of Malcolm Jenkins play…with Schwartz taking the chains off of the veteran Safety.

 

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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