We’re four months away from the start of the 2023 NFL Season and just a few weeks away from mandatory minicamp for most organizations. While the Eagles have dialed back on overall practice times, they still have several positions that are expecting to have plenty of competition at.
One of those spots is at defensive tackle.
Javon Hargrave left for San Francisco and led the team using a top-10 overall on one of the best overall defensive players at the position in recent years. But just because Jalen Carter is now in the fold doesn’t mean he’ll get to play 50% of the snaps in the opener.
In the end, there are plenty of tackles that are going to be competing for playing time. Today, we take a deep dive into the players competing for time, and where they would be best suited for.
Players signed to the position:
Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Jalen Carter, Marlon Tuipulotu, Moro Ojomo, Kentavius Street
The Aging Vet: Fletcher Cox
Like Brandon Graham on the edge, the Eagles brought back Fletcher Cox to supply needed veteran leadership to a very young group inside. Cox is certainly a borderline Hall-of-Famer with 65 sacks and four All-Pro selections. That being said, his seven sacks last season last year were a byproduct of the entire unit’s record-breaking year. He’s declined against the run and should only be used sparingly as a rotational pass rusher.
The breakout candidate: Milton Williams
In two seasons with the club, Williams has recorded six sacks and has shown a penchant to play well when given more playing time. Pro Football Focus graded his 2022 season at an elite 72.6. He was even better against the run than he was against the pass getting a grade that was 10th best among interior defensive linemen. He also was fourth in the league last year with the highest percentage of positive plays against the run. If Philadelphia is to succeed on defense this year, Williams will need to have more play-time and produce at a continued high level.
The future: Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter is a rookie and therefore should not be expected to dominate right away by putting up 10+ sacks. That being said, the Eagles haven’t had an interior rookie like this since Jerome Brown in the 80s. It’s clear that Carter is a better athlete and prospect than Fletcher Cox was when he came to the team in 2012. Carter’s rookie season shouldn’t have too high of expectations but should certainly be better than his former teammate.
Jordan Davis was really good against the run before he got hurt in his rookie season but never really got into a rhythm and struggled to win in pass-rushing reps. This isn’t to say that Davis is a bust – far from it. But if the Eagles are going to repeat as conference champions, they’ll need more from him and his Georgia teammate this season.
The Sleepers: Moro Ojomo and Marlon Tuipulotu
Philadelphia has been pleased with the small production Tuipulotu has shown in just 14 games the last two years. With a strong camp, he could very well make the roster as the fifth tackle. Ojomo on the other hand is a physical specimen project with the tools to really take off in his rookie season. Reports have shown that the team has been impressed with the former Longhorn’s phenom. Ojomo is just 21 and could have himself a nice career for a seventh-round prospect.
Eagles Rotation Projection
In 3-4 Defense:
Nose Tackle – Jordan Davis
5-Tech: Jalen Carter and Milton Williams (Cox rotating in)
In 4-3 Defense:
Run Downs: Jordan Davis and Milton Williams
Pass Downs: Jalen Carter and Flecther Cox
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire