2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Needs

On the heels of discussing the offensive needs for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into the 2013 NFL Draft it is time to talk about the team’s defensive needs as we approach draft day. The team is expected to change from a base 4-3 defensive front to a 3-4. The team has already made a lot of moves to sure up the defense via free agency adding a pass rushing LB in Connor Barwin and adding four new members to the secondary.

Defensive Line

The defensive line is going to have a completely new look with Fletcher Cox likely the only holdover as a starter. Gone are the likes of Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin (released mid-season) and Mike Patterson. It is expected that Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will transition to linebacker in the 3-4 defense. There has been some speculation that Vinny Curry may try to bulk up to remain on the line. The team added Clifton Geathers and Isaac Sopoaga via free agency. While they could vie for starting jobs neither one is long term solution nor do the scare other teams. As it stands today Cox is the only one opposing teams need concern themselves with. It would not surprise me to see the team grab a defensive lineman with one of its first three picks. There has been talk of the team eyeing Star Lotuleilei or Sharrif Floyd with the fourth pick.

Linebacker

The team has added three new linebackers thus far this off season picking up Barwin and Jason Phillips via free agency and dealing Dion Lewis for Emmanuel Acho. Barwin is expected to start at OLB while Acho will add some depth inside with Phillips pitching in mostly on special teams. It is expected that Mychal Kendricks will move inside to play next to DeMeco Ryans. There is not a huge need to add a potential starter here but one should not rule out the idea of former Oregon Duck Dion Jordan coming off the board with the 4th pick.

Secondary

The secondary was putrid last season and has seen the most turnover this offseason. Both starting corners from last season are gone; replaced by free agents Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. Veterans Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung were brought in to challenge Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen at safety. On the surface the Eagles do not appear to have any viable long terms solutions at safety and there is a good chance they may target someone like Matt Elam or Eric Reid in the second or third round. There is also a lack of a true lockdown corner and given Fletcher’s history with injuries it is probably a safe bet that Howie Roseman has his eye on a cornerback in this draft.