Focus Up Front

Posted: March 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

The Eagles have to spend pick 14 on a CB, right? That is a critical position and the Eagles don’t have much there. Or maybe the team will add an impact runner or receiver, someone to play with Carson Wentz for the next 5 to 10 years. That would certainly make a lot of sense.

Don’t forget that football games are usually won in the trenches. My column this week is about how the Eagles have addressed the OL to make that a strength and now need to do the same for the defensive line.

There is talent needed at both DE and DT.

The DE class is loaded, the DT class isn’t. There are only a couple of possibilities for DT at 14. The first would involve Alabama star Jonathan Allen falling. That may seem unlikely due to his reputation, but there are some concerns about his shoulders. If Allen were to slide, the Eagles would have a chance to take a terrific, but flawed prospect. The only reason he would slide is if teams were genuinely worried about how arthritic his shoulders truly are.

I don’t anticipate Allen sliding, but it is possible. Allen is a gifted DL and would be interesting to pair with Fletcher Cox. Even though I don’t think it will happen, I’m sure the Eagles will discuss what they would do if Allen did tumble down in the draft.

Malik McDowell is a more realistic possibility. The 6-6, 295 Junior from Michigan State would be a really interesting addition to the Eagles.

The question with McDowell is value. He won’t be a 1st round pick to everyone. Others will see him as a Top 20 guy. I think he would interest the Eagles. I don’t know for a fact they like him, but he makes sense. Jim Schwartz loves long, tall DL. McDowell is 6-6 and has arms that are almost 35 inches long. He is versatile. McDowell can play nose tackle, under tackle and end.

McDowell didn’t have a great 2016 season. The whole Michigan State team was down. Ideally, you would like a talented veteran like McDowell to play well and make the guys around him better. Instead, he didn’t play consistently well and also missed 3 games due to an ankle injury. McDowell is a Top 15 talent, but he didn’t play anywhere close to that level last year.

The Eagles talk about wanting hard-working, tough guys that are highly competitive. McDowell’s 2016 season did not show him to be that guy. There would be risk in taking a player like him. At the same time, if things click, he could be an inside force to pair with Cox for the next 5 years.

My point here isn’t to say the Eagles should draft McDowell, but I think we can get trapped in a cycle of talking about the same prospects over and over. The Eagles might have some player in their sights that we’re overlooking.


While this isn’t a great DT class, the Eagles will have targets in other rounds. Nazair Jones has a very similar build to McDowell and is a talented DT. He is more of a mid-round target.

Jones isn’t much of a pass rusher. He is more of a run-stuffer, but that might work well with Cox. We don’t really know what the Eagles are looking for. Jim Schwartz loves pass rushers, but with Graham, Curry, Cox and whoever the team adds at DE, he might like a run defender to add to the mix.

We’ve got a lot to learn with Joe Douglas being new to the draft this year and Schwartz also having some say about who he wants.


28 Comments on “Focus Up Front”

  1. 1 aron said at 10:00 PM on March 19th, 2017:

    cracked feet

  2. 2 GENETiC-FREAK said at 12:57 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I like Larry Ogunjobi and Eddie Vanderoes as DT prospects.

    Any you guys who like watching film have any thoughts on them?

  3. 3 Media Mike said at 5:01 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Vanderdoes got a lot of support from Pat Kirwan after Senior Bowl week.

    Ogunjobi was getting talked up by Bill Polian.

  4. 4 BobSmith77 said at 1:09 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I’m not nearly the draft aficionado that some on here are but there are a few things I hope the Eagles don’t do:

    – Drafting Fournette (not a fan and don’t see him having a great or long NFL career) especially if it means giving up extra pick(s) or players.
    – Trading back in the 1st round several spots to get extra picks.
    – Picking a DT with the #14.

  5. 5 Anders said at 3:57 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    If Allen is there at 14 (or in general falls outside top 12) and you feel confident in his shoulder you should pick him.
    Have him play DE on base or run downs and then move inside on passing downs, similar to how Darren Howard did it here, or how the Giants used Justin Tuck or Michael Bennett in Seattle.

  6. 6 GENETiC-FREAK said at 4:15 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Darren Howard thats a name havent heard in awhile.

    Isnt that how Curry is being used or was used?

  7. 7 Anders said at 4:41 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I think its how most think Curry would thrive and Curry got a lot of his sacks in 2014 playing pass rushing DT

  8. 8 PacificPurl said at 5:09 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Logan is a run stopper. Why get rid of him then draft an unknown quantity at the same position?

  9. 9 Anders said at 5:10 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    If you draft Allen, its not to replace Logan, Honey Bo Bo is doing that

  10. 10 daveH said at 7:51 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Wonder the same .. you have a guy in a key spot but just go and create a weakness to what ??
    .save 5million, you think another 3rd rounder is just as good .. Tommy answers it better in his linked article

  11. 11 scratcherk said at 8:06 AM on March 20th, 2017:


  12. 12 BlindChow said at 11:14 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Ask Chip. He did it all the time.

  13. 13 Media Mike said at 5:08 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Fournette, although I think he’s going to be a great player (unless he’s selected by a team I hate, in which case he’ll be s sucky bust) I don’t see him as a good fit for what we do.

    Agree on the trade back in rd 1 not being ideal.

    Can I count Solomon Thomas as a DT (for pass downs) or Allen as Anders said?

  14. 14 Anders said at 5:11 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Both Thomas and Allen is a DE/DT depending on down and distance

  15. 15 Media Mike said at 5:12 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    And the other DT types clearly aren’t worth it at 14.

  16. 16 Media Mike said at 5:01 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    McDowell really seems to be a poor value for #14 and I’d rather see if he fell to 43.

  17. 17 Media Mike said at 5:06 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I think it’ll be my goal to get my Twitter account banned via getting extra aggressive with teams if there aren’t 3 QBs taking before we pick at 14. I’ve liked the list of names available t us at 14 a lot better when 3 QBs go prior to our pick.

  18. 18 Anders said at 5:12 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    For me that optimal is if 3 QBs and 2 RBs go before pick 14

  19. 19 Media Mike said at 5:14 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I can’t imagine more than just Fournette goes before 14, but having both safeties go there would work for us as well.

    When the wrong guys go right in front of us, it stinks.

    Cooks in the Marcus Smith draft.
    Alshon when we took Kendricks.

  20. 20 Anders said at 5:23 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    yea Cook’s poor combine put a nail in that coffin.

    In theory the most realistic is 3 QBs, 1 RB, 2 safeties for a total 6 guys we most likely wouldnt pick

  21. 21 Media Mike said at 5:29 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    I’m with that. And hopefully Mike Williams and hamstring boy Lattimore, as I’m not sold on either’s value in rd 1.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 5:28 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Here is my big question; if we don’t get a lock down corner at 14; will we get later on? In this draft, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on Charles Harris or Tak at 14, I took D3’s boy Humphrey…

    Round 1 Pick 14: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama (B)
    Round 2 Pick 11: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin (A-)
    Round 3 Pick 10: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina (A)
    Round 4 Pick 12: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (A)
    Round 4 Pick 32 (COMP): Jordan Morgan, OG, Kutztown (A)
    Round 5 Pick 11: Corn Elder, CB, Miami (Fla.) (B-)
    Round 6 Pick 10: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, DT, Southern California (B+)
    Round 7 Pick 12: Johnathan Ford, FS, Auburn (C+)

    Watt would be a DE here.

  23. 23 增达网QQ-33092290 said at 6:41 AM on March 20th, 2017:


  24. 24 Niels Rosenquist said at 7:11 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    re: McDowell-Do. Not. Want. He has been on my radar screen since he was a recruit in HS and by all accounts does not have the character to be a productive NFL player. His combine interviews were by all reports terrible which fits as well with his rep.

  25. 25 GermanEagle said at 7:13 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Unless there’s an Aaron Donald type of DT available in this year’s draft, I simply can’t see the Eagles spending a 1st round pick on a DT.

    Solid run stuffing DTs can also be found in the 3rd round, just ask Bennie…

  26. 26 eagleyankfan said at 7:14 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Hard to get a read on Malik from those two videos. Second one, he seems to be a very good player. That first video isn’t very good to this untrained eye. Seemed slow. Seemed upright all the time. Didn’t use a whole lot of power. If I’m his agent, I get that video banned. If I’m to judge off of those 2 video’s, I hope he’s not our pick at 14.
    Going back to the previous article. Does anybody know the Eagles 1st pick vs. the visits. Another words, has the Eagles 1st selection, in say the last 5 years, has visited the Eagles? Can we look at who visited and start to get a feel as to who the Eagles are targeting?

  27. 27 Rellihcs said at 7:17 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    If I recall (oh my god that was so hard to type all those letters instead of using an acronym – this makes me laugh out loud) correctly, Kempski looked into this and about half the time we picked people we met with obviously out in the open, and half of the time it was someone we didn’t meet with directly at all – verdict – useless exercise to try to predict based on that.

  28. 28 Buge Halls said at 7:47 AM on March 20th, 2017:

    Didn’t see much to argue for McDowell as a #1 in that 1st video (I thought they usually showed you know, “highlights” in highlight videos!). All I saw was him getting pushed out of the way of the plays every down. If that’s all I have to go on, I wouldn’t pick him higher than the 3rd or 4th. Maybe there’s more game tape that shows better work, but I don’t see it from what’s here.

    Let’s not try to read more talent into somebody than he has just because we have a position of need – that’s how you blow drafts! If we can’t improve the DL, improve the DBs – we keep hearing it’s a stacked draft for them.