As you count down the days to Training Camp, you have to look across the board and see where there might be some interesting position battles. Today we’ll look at the Eagles defensive line and look at who should expect to see a lot of time and who will struggle to make the roster.
Let’s start by looking at the current defensive linemen on the roster:
DE Victor Abiamiri
DE Trent Cole
DE Brandon Graham
DE Eric Moncur
DE Juqua Parker
DE Ricky Sapp
DE Darryl Tapp
DT Brodrick Bunkley
DT Antonio Dixon
DT Trevor Laws
DT Jeff Owens
DT Mike Patterson
DT Boo Robinson
As you can see, there’s about an even split between new and returning players. The Eagles defensive line has some definite room for improvement and some of these new guys will definitely look to step in to contribute.
In the middle, Bunkley and Patterson will continue to be the starters. They have developed into quite a solid combination and should continue to be solid for many years to come. The interesting battles will be the one’s taking place behind them. You have two guys returning in Laws and Dixon and two new additions to the team in Owens and Robinson. Dixon will be the automatic front-runner for the third spot due to his play in 2009 as well as Laws’ inability to make an impact. This may very well be Laws’ last chance to show the Birds he can be a contributor to their defense. Owens and Robinson will have some real work to do but should have a good opportunity to make the roster.
The defensive end position will be watched a lot in Training Camp as the Eagles did a lot in the offseason to try to bolster the spot. Trent Cole is your only clear cut starter as of now. Starting opposite of Cole will most likely be Graham or Tapp. Graham was quite the costly acquisition on draft night, so you have to believe the Eagles would love to see him come in and shine right away.
However, the Eagles shed defensive ends the same way that they brought them in so a lot of new players will get opportunities to see the field. Versatility is something the coaches seem to hold very high and we will see a lot of the ends seeing time in the middle of the line as well as dropping back as linebackers.
The Eagles have four rookie defensive ends and a veteran who is yet to take any snaps for the team. There are a lot of young guys with a lot to prove and this should be a very fun position to watch throughout Training Camp.
Overall, there’s plenty of young talent spread out on the defensive line. Some of these players need to step up and show they’re ready to make an immediate impact.