Philadelphia Eagles, Def, Eagles
|Def - #10||141.19||PHI||Active||45||0' 0||0|
2015 Outlook: Solid/Safe PickLast updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
The Eagles will face four teams that had weak rushing attacks last season: The Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. On the flip side, they also have to face the Jets' and the Cowboys' rushing attacks. Philly has eight games versus teams with above-average passing attacks. The Jets and the Seahawks are the only teams on the schedule that are below average through the air.
Defensive end Fletcher Cox was the Eagles' best run defender, and he also produced as a pass rusher (four sacks, five QB hits and 39 QB hurries). The 2012 first-rounder has improved greatly since his first two years in the league. DE Cedric Thornton also played well against the run, but he delivered just one sack and one QB hit. Nose tackle Bennie Logan was slightly above average against the run with no value in the pass rush.
LB Connor Barwin had a great season attacking the QB, racking up 14.5 sacks. He registered only eight sacks in the previous two seasons combined. LB Mychal Kendricks was a neutral run defender while playing extremely well in pass coverage and showing improvement as a pass rusher. Last year, he missed four games with a calf injury. LB Kiko Alonso came to the Eagles in the trade of LeSean McCoy. Alonso missed all of last year with a torn ACL. As a rookie in 2013, Alonso recorded 159 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions. He was a little weak against the run. LB Brandon Graham was a great asset in the pass rush in 2014 (5.5 sacks, eight QB hits, and 39 QB hurries). He was also an asset against the run.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Connor Barwin
Safety Malcolm Jenkins is the only returning player in this secondary. He added value to their run defense while playing well in pass coverage. Thurmond is currently listed as the second safety. He will face competition from Eric Rowe and Earl Wolff, who underwent major knee surgery in November. Byron Maxwell should be an upgrade in pass coverage. CB Brandon Boykin has played well in pass coverage while coming off the bench in his career.
This defense has strength on the D-line with value against the run. Their linebackers are talented and can get after the quarterback as well as hold their own in coverage. Jenkins is an asset in the secondary, and Maxwell should be at least league average. How much this secondary improves from last year will depend on the development of their young talent. Last year, the Eagles were very advantageous. They recovered 16 fumbles and scored seven defensive touchdowns, finishing as Fantasy's No. 1 defense. Draft them as a top-five unit this season.
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