When the Eagles signed Javon Hargrave to a three-year, $39 million deal this offseason, there was some projection that went into it.
After all, Hargrave spent his first four years in the NFL playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a passive two-gapping system. What the Eagles were going to ask him to do was penetrate and get up field. It’s really the complete opposite for a defensive lineman.
And then all of OTAs were canceled.
And then Hargrave suffered an injury that forced him to miss all of training camp and the first week of the season.
So when the 27-year-old finally got on the field for the Eagles in Week 2 against the Rams, he just wasn’t very good. And during his first couple of months in an Eagles jersey, we didn’t really get to see the move pay off. But in the last few weeks, we’re starting to see glimpses of why the Eagles wanted Hargrave this offseason.
“Man, I think I'm a lot farther than where I was,” Hargrave said on Friday. “I done came a long way, breaking a lot of habits that was in me from playing that read defense, but I think I'm a lot farther than [where] I was and I still got a long way to go.”
While it’s not a perfect way to assess the play of everyone, ProFootballFocus can at least give us a general sense of how well a player is playing. And in the three games since the bye week, Hargrave has had his three best games of the season. Against the Seahawks — and Hargrave agreed — he had his best game of the season.
In the last three weeks, Hargrave has 13 tackles, a half sack and 2 QB hits. No, it’s not insane pressure, but we’re seeing him get better and that’s a positive sign because the Eagles have him under contract for two more seasons after this.
“I mean, it was just a lot of going through that injury and not being able to do OTAs and all that, I think it just delayed the process a little bit, but I ain't going to say it took longer than I thought,” Hargrave said. “I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was up for the challenge.”
The biggest change for Hargrave was simply flipping his mentality to become more of an attacker. And then he needed to learn — or remember — how to use his hands better as an attacker.
It’s been a slow process. But the Eagles invested in Hargrave and he wants to show them they didn’t make a mistake.
“Yeah, definitely, I think [the Seattle game] was one of my better games this year, but like I said, I feel like I'm definitely getting more comfortable in the system,” he said. “Just playing more comfortable and just playing more fast and just evolving every week and up for a challenge this week to be even better than last week.”
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