Plenty has been made of how the Philadelphia Eagles offense will look with Chip Kelly bringing the collegiate wonders of his Oregon attack to the NFL level. And this is rightly so, as it will be intriguing to see how much of the offensive scheme that made him so coveted will translate and what the first-year pro head coach will incorporate into the Philly playbook.
However, the sneaky-compelling story line is the kind of young talent this Eagles defense possesses and how their apparent switch to a 3-4 base defense will turn out. While the Eagles have drafted their fair of duds in the early rounds of recent years, some players emerged to show promise for this defense in the future.
Brandon Graham took his after being drafted in Round 1 in 2010, but bloomed in 2012 and finished ranked second among defensive ends. Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks comprise Philly’s top two picks in 2012, and will be counted on as core pieces of this changing defense for years to come.
Cox had his ups and downs his rookie season, but showed plenty of upside to get excited if you’re an Eagles fan, tying for 13th in the league in QB hits among defensive tackles. Kendricks struggled to grapple with the pro game, but year two in a new defensive scheme could jump-start things for the young player.
“The speed of the game has completely slowed down to the point that I’m thinking a whole lot more faster, seeing things a whole lot more clear,” Kendricks said, via Philly.com. “Just the general understanding of the game, of the way the NFL game works.”
Cox seems ready to roll in a new Eagles defensive look that is assumed to place him at 3-4 end and Kendricks at inside linebacker.
“We talk about how we came in as the top-two draft picks last year, and they were expecting us to learn the defense and come in and play,” Cox said. “Of course, long-term, we want it to stay that way.”