Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20: Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
Fletcher Cox has been a perennial Pro Bowler but the Eagles have failed to put a really good player at the DT spot next to him.
They finally got one this offseason.
The Eagles signed Hargrave to a three-year, $39 million contract as a free agent in March, giving the Eagles one of the best interior 1-2 punches in the entire league.
Hargrave, 27, spent the first four years of his career with the Steelers, who drafted him in the third round back in 2016. He has 14 1/2 career sacks but it doesn’t seem like he’s even scratched the surface of his pass rushing ability. In Pittsburgh, Hargrave was a nose tackle in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense. He did a lot of two-gapping and wasn’t asked to go get the quarterback. In Philly, that’ll change.
This is a perfect system for Hargrave. Jim Schwartz is going to ask Hargrave to get after the quarterback in the Eagles’ one-gap system and bring down a running back on the way. This is the type of get-up-the-field scheme that Hargrave has always been a great fit for and now he’s in it.
The Eagles really liked Hargrave and wanted to draft him in 2016. In fact, their decision came down to Hargrave or Isaac Seumalo at No. 79 that year. Seumalo was just a little higher on their board, so they took him. But the Eagles kept an eye on Hargrave.
Now that they finally have him, the Eagles are expecting big things. And Hargrave has a chance to produce.
Think about it: How often does Cox get doubled? All the time, right?
So that means Hargrave will face mostly 1-on-1 situations with the Eagles. If he can beat a 1-on-1, it’s a race to the quarterback.
Last season, the Eagles had what seemed like endless injuries to their defensive tackles. They lost Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway to injury. Jernigan, by the way, is the best complementary DT Cox has ever played with and Jernigan was injured for a lot of his tenure with the Eagles.
While it might take some time for Hargrave to acclimate to a new system, once he does, he has the potential to be really disruptive in 2020. If he is as good as we think he is, the Eagles’ defensive line could be really dangerous.
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