Why Didn't the Philadelphia Eagles Draft a Defensive Lineman in the 2011 NFL Draft?

By Bryn Swartz

The Philadelphia Eagles had 11 selections in the 2011 NFL draft. They had room to improve every single position they needed to improve, including cornerback, guard, linebacker, running back, and safety. Oh, and they even had time to select a kicker/punter in the fourth round.

But they didn’t draft a defensive lineman. Not a tackle nor an end, which is surprising because the team recorded just 15 sacks in the last eight games of the season.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if the team drafted a defensive lineman, likely an end, with their first-round pick. When that didn’t happen, I definitely expected it to happen on the second day. And when that didn’t happen, I figured that we would select two defensive ends (or more) on the final day.

But that didn’t happen.

With rookie Brandon Graham almost certainly missing the start of next season due to the ACL injury he suffered in the Cowboys game last December, the Eagles have Trent Cole, of course, and Juqua Parker, Darryl Tapp, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Ricky Sapp, and Bobby McCray on their roster.

McCray and Sapp likely won’t be around next season. Te’o-Nesheim didn’t contribute at all last year. Cole, Parker, and Tapp may be the only healthy contributors.

The logical solution here is simple. The Philadelphia Eagles plan to address the position of defensive end through free agency.

With the addition of new defensive line coach Jim Washburn from the Tennessee Titans, my prediction is that the Philadelphia Eagles will resign free agent Jason Babin, who totaled 12.5 sacks with the Titans last season.

Babin was a great fit in Washburn’s scheme and if he was brought back to Philadelphia (he spent the 2009 season with the team), he would immediately be plugged in as a starter alongside Trent Cole. Juqua Parker and Brandon Graham, when healthy, would be the backups.

It may not be Babin. It could be another quality defensive end. Or it could be nobody.

Maybe the Eagles do think they’re fit at defensive end for the 2011 season. But I don’t think so. I think they’re going to sign somebody and I predict that it’s Jason Babin.

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