Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson Casualties Create Dire Need at DT for Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 NFL Draft

By Joe Doris
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have taken another significant step towards reshaping and remodeling their woeful defensive unit as the team let go of veteran DTs Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson earlier in the week.

Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ brand new head coach, has completely transformed the Birds’ coaching staff since coming aboard following the 2012 NFL season, soon after the termination of 14-year head coach Andy Reid. So the Jenkins and Patterson cuts do not come as real surprises because most of the time personnel changes directly follow coaching and strategy alterations.

The Eagles’ entire defense performed miserably last season, and the defensive line was no exception. With just a few weeks remaining in the 2012 season, the Eagles cut ties with All-Pro DE Jason Babin so that their younger d-ends, like rising star Brandon Graham, could see more playing time.

But when it comes to the defensive tackle position, the Eagles hold close to no depth behind the recently axed Jenkins and Patterson. This means that Kelly and the Eagles will certainly consider nabbing a stand-out d-tackle in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.

If the Eagles wish to land a d-tackle with their first-round pick at 4th overall, their likely targets would include Star Lotulelei out of the University of Utah and Sheldon Richardson from the University of Missouri.

Now that the Eagles have retained QB Michael Vick and signed backup QB Dennis Dixon, the only other positions that I could see the Birds targeting in the first round are free safety and defensive end. Even though the Eagles housed one of the league’s worst offensive lines in 2012, most of their essential pieces will be returning from injury.

When the 4th overall pick rolls around in the 2013 NFL Draft, look for the Eagles to fill one of the very obvious voids on their defensive line.


Please follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_RantNFL for all Eagles/NFL insight.

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