The Philadelphia Eagles made marked improvements on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football last season and it led to a playoff berth in Chip Kelly‘s first season as head coach.
There was one glaring thing missing however. A dynamic force off the edge. Connor Barwin came in and provided a solid complimentary presence as a player who could do pretty much everything: rush the passer, set the edge, and even drop back in coverage. The problem is he is a jack of all trades and master of none. He is a solid 2nd option, but not the explosive pass rushing presence a dominant 3-4 defense needs.
No other player on the roster provides that either. Trent Cole‘s best days are behind him and Brandon Graham would prove to be a much better fit in a 4-3 defense. The Eagles and general manager Howie Roseman need to make it their mission to go out and acquire a pass rushing threat at all costs.
The draft offers the best opportunity but it certainly isn’t the only avenue. If a guy like Anthony Barr starts to slide to the mid- to late-teens, the Eagles need to be frantically picking up the phone to potentially acquire his services.
A guy like Dion Jordan could potentially also be on the block. Coach Kelly knows him well and he would seem to be the perfect fit in the Eagles 3-4 hybrid defense. Last but not least is a guy like Aldon Smith.
It looks like he is on the outs in San Francisco. While Kelly really values character I think all Smith needs is a second chance. Smith when healthy is one of the most lethal pass rushers in football.
There are some juicy possibilities for the Eagles to dramatically upgrade their pass rush. One thing’s certain — they need to address the position in a big way and they have a big opportunity to do so in the coming months.