There’s a silver lining behind Eagles cluster injuries at defensive end

Josh sweat
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 06: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Josh Sweat (94) sacks New York Jets Quarterback Luke Falk (8) in the second half during the game between the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles on October 06, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Injuries are mounting up for the Philadelphia Eagles. Are you shocked? Neither am I. The good news is that the world isn’t on fire just yet. The defensive end spot has been hit pretty hard however, presenting the Eagles with a unique challenge.

Vinny Curry

NFL insider Tom Pelissero noted that Vinny Curry is set to miss four weeks due to a hamstring injury. The Eagles defensive end was already bumped up the depth chart due to the absence of Derek Barnett on Sunday, but it’s likely the team now place him on IR, since he can be activated again after just three weeks.

According to an anonymous source, the veteran is feeling good and has no concerns about his timeline to return.

Brandon Graham

If losing Curry was hard, losing your top edge rusher will be even harder. Graham was pulled from yesterday’s loss for what looked like a head injury and he has been placed in concussion protocol, as Doug Pederson mentioned on Monday.

There’s a chance he could be ready to go against the Rams, but with something like this, it really is hard to speculate.

Derek Barnett

Barnett missed week one with an ankle injury that kept him out of training camp. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be ready to go for week two but if he isn’t, the Eagles could well be without their top 3 defensive ends.

What next for the Eagles?

The only healthy defensive ends on the roster right now behind Josh Sweat, who was exceptional on Sunday, are seventh-round pick Casey Toohill and Genard Avery. The duo should automatically be bumped to the top of the depth chart, but expect Joe Ostman to be elevated from the practice squad.

Ostman has been on the edge of making the roster for 3 years now and spent the Summer bullying Mailata, while Stanford’s Toohill was one of the big impact-makers of Training Camp. For a seventh-round pick, that’s promising.

It would be a great opportunity for Toohill and Ostman, who thrived during training camp, to get after the Rams’ offensive line and prove they can apply pressure to a pretty stout unit.

Toohill’s speed will translate swimmingly to the Eagles’ wide-9 front and his hand technique is already above some of the other rookies in the class. He’s a long guy that hasn’t quite figured out how to take full advantage of that, but has clearly started to piece it together. His ability to do multiple things will also have Jim Schwartz dreaming up ways to get him on the field.

There is also the wildcard of Malik Jackson being able to flex outside as a defensive end too, which could at least offset some of the weight on the shoulders of the young edge-rushers. Jackson looked lethal in week one and now would be the perfect time to see that versatility in play.

Depth is a concern here, but there’s no reason to sound the alarm bells…yet.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire