Philadelphia Eagles: Can Trent Cole Make Transition To 3-4?

By Joseph Hickman
Trent Cole Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports

I’ve been thinking a bit about Trent Cole and if he could make the transition from 4-3 to 3-4 for the Philadelphia Eagles. I know Chip Kelly has said that he will be playing some 4-3, but they will be playing a 3-4 defense most of the time.

Cole, 30, who was drafted out of Cincinnati (fifth round in 2005) has built himself into an every-down defensive linemen by putting on weight and muscle over the years. He has spent his entire NFL career with his hands on the ground.

As of right now, defensive coordinator Billy Davis has Cole lined up in the “Predator” spot in the 3-4 (rushing the QB). Davis also Brandon Graham lined up in the “Jack” spot (coverage and rushing the QB). Graham has a easier transition because of playing a 3-4 at Michigan, but Cole is a different story.

He does have some experience in coverage in 2009 and 2010 when Sean McDermott was the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, but not a lot. The former two-time Pro Bowler is coming off his worst year, though. He had a career-low in sacks (three) and a career-low in tackles (24). In the five season prior to 2012, he averaged 11 sacks (55 total) and 49.6 tackles (248 total).

The Eagles are asking a lot of Cole. The guy’s best days could be behind him.

Maybe he can make the transition or maybe he can’t. Either way, Cole has had a solid career with the Eagles. He ranks third in franchise history with 71 sacks behind two legendary pass rushers — Hall of Famer Reggie White and Clyde Simmons. Not to shabby for a former fifth-round pick.

Joseph Hickman is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for Follow him on Twitter @phillytugger, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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