The case for and against defensive line with the Eagles first draft pick

The case for and against defensive line with the Eagles first draft pick

The Eagles have a glaring hole at cornerback and a desire to add playmakers on offense, so it's no wonder defensive line feels like a bit of an afterthought heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. At the same time, a strong case can be made defensive line is actually this team's biggest offseason need.
While the D-line is increasingly under the microscope as the draft draws near, it continues to appear overshadowed by more glamorous positions. Maybe that's because the Eagles have so much invested there already. Fletcher Cox became one of the highest-paid players in the NFL last summer, Brandon Graham enjoyed a career year and was named second-team All-Pro in 2016, and Vinny Curry is owed a ton of money, too.
In theory, those three players should've combined to anchor the unit. In reality, that's not quite how things worked out.
There were weeks where the Eagles' defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and completely took over games. Then there were weeks where the front four played small and seemed to disappear. No surprise, the defense was aggressively average on the whole, ranked 15th in the league against the run and tied for 16th in sacks -- right down the middle.
If defense wins championships, that's not nearly good enough. Furthermore, in a wide-nine scheme under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, success starts up front. The Eagles can't afford to be inconsistent or merely average at the point of attack, which should be reason enough to go lineman in round one. Of course, that’s not the only reason.
Currently in possession of the No. 14 pick overall, the Eagles are also in what you would hope is a rare position to draft an impact pass-rusher. There is such a premium on finding athletes who can get to the quarterback, the blue-chip prospects tend to fly off the board. Case in point, there's a very good possibility three of the first five picks in 2017 will be defensive linemen.
Half of the 16 players who recorded double-digit sacks in '16 were former first-round picks. In 2015, it was 11 out of 16. In other words, if the Eagles want a defensive end or tackle who has the potential to be a difference maker, their best chance is to strike early.
Even if cornerback or running back are considered greater needs, this year's class is supposed to be incredibly deep at both positions. The Eagles can wait and still find starting-caliber prospects at both spots. While that’s possible along the defensive line as well, the likelihood decreases dramatically.
Three players does not make a front four. For that matter, four isn't enough, either. The defensive line is subject to a lot of rotation and substitution to keep everybody fresh, and as of right now, the Eagles are neither deep nor top heavy.
The line's interior is particularly concern after the departure of Bennie Logan in free agency. Cox will now be joined by Beau Allen, who might be a better fit for the wide nine in all honesty, but is relatively unproven as a full-time starter. Allen can also become a free agent next year, and behind them, only Destiny Vaeao has meaningful NFL experience.
End isn't much better. Graham is coming off of a stellar season, but still only had 5.5 sacks, while Curry's new contract is looking like a bust after a 2.5-sack campaign. Chris Long replaces Connor Barwin, which doesn’t really change things, and Marcus Smith is also in the mix. Simply put, opposing quarterbacks aren't exactly in fear of the pressure the Eagles are bringing off the edge.
If quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, what's second? Either protecting said quarterback, or getting the opposition's signal-caller to the ground.

A great pass-rush has both the ability to stifle the opponent's offense and cover up potential weaknesses in the defense -- particularly in the secondary. Think what guys like Von Miller, J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack mean to their teams. The presence of a perennial double-digit sack artists can completely change the complexion of a game plan.
As fantastic as they are, Cox hasn't become that yet, and Graham may never. There's still room to add a true force on the line, which would not only make a porous secondary better, but his teammates up front, too. If defenses win championships, like the cliché insists, adding a true, premier pass-rusher and all-around dominant force up front should be the Eagles' top priority this offseason.

Did the Flyers just troll the Eagles on social media?

NBC Sports Philadelphia

Did the Flyers just troll the Eagles on social media?

The Eagles have been quite the disappointment this season, with the latest being their atrocious 37-31 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday in South Florida. And with disappointments come possible troll jobs? 

As the clock wound down and fans became increasingly exasperated with the team, social media anger started to build and it looks like one fellow Philadelphia team may have added just an oh-so-subtle jab in there.

As the 37-31 score went final, the Flyers sent out quite the interesting reminder of their impressive record this November. It seems like they don’t want fans to forget that they are NOT part of the teams that have been disappointing this city. 

You have to admit, the timing is a bit suspicious. 

Fans certainly seem to think that the Flyers are trolling the Eagles with their post, based on the replies.

We love a little friendly fire between the Philadelphia sports teams, if this is a true troll job. Or maybe it’s just a conveniently scheduled tweet by the Flyers' social media team. 

You be the judge. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Eagles social media exposed Orlando Scandrick in the best way

Eagles social media exposed Orlando Scandrick in the best way

Updated: 6:35 p.m.

Oh boy.

Things have gotten wild over in the Eagles' world today, beginning with former Eagles cornerback Orlando Scandrick torching almost everyone on his old team on FS1’s “Undisputed” this morning (see story).

Then, Malcolm Jenkins clapped back at Scandrick in NSFW fashion to essentially dismiss the claims by Scandrick, to which Scandrick then responded on Colin Cowherd’s show that he essentially “wasn’t attacking anyone personally”(see story).

And so, after a morning of ping-ponging back and forth, we have the ultimate response, from the team itself.

The Eagles social media account offically weighed in in the most brilliant way. Actions speak louder than words, Scandrick, and you can't run from history.

Well damn, they really just exposed Scandrick. I mean, how do you come back from being shredded by both Jenkins and a professional NFL team?

So long Scandrick, you won’t be missed.

Jenkins himself apparently liked the tweet, too ... he had a very interesting quote tweet.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles