Eagles fail to crack top ten in recent interior defensive lineman rankings


The Philadelphia Eagles business model is easy to understand. It all starts in the trenches. Of course, every team needs their franchise flagger, and they know it. The 2022-23 NFL regular season will serve as a second audition for third-year man Jalen Hurts to see if he’s the guy. If he is, Philly will go ahead. If they determine it is not, they will adjust. Objectives number two and three are obvious, however.

Philadelphia wants to find guys to play along the offensive line to protect its quarterback (and open up holes in the running game). They want to find guys to play on the defensive line who can make life hell for guys who play quarterback on opposing teams.

Seriously, who was shocked, with wide receiver, cornerback and linebacker needs, when the Birds took a whopping six-foot-six, 340-pound defensive tackle? We certainly weren’t, and you shouldn’t have been either. Again, it’s the business model.

The Eagles fail to crack the top ten in Pro Football Network’s recent interior defensive lineman rankings.

With the first half of June behind us, Pro Football Network has compiled a ranking of the 32 best defensive tackles in professional football. As you can imagine, global talent and Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald tops the list. Rounding out the top five are Jeffery Simmons (Tennessee Titans), Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Chris Jones (Kansas City Chiefs) and DeForest Buckner (Indianapolis Colts).

It’s hard to argue with a list like this, so you won’t find any complaints here. The rest of the top 10 wiggles as follows: Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers (6), Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7), Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders (8), Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons (9), Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers (10).

Did you notice anything? We haven’t named any Philadelphia Eagles yet! Should we be worried? Should we start throwing around words like “snub”?

In the end, two Eagles made the top 32. Javon Hargrave lands at 14. Fletcher Cox lands at 20… And you still think Fletcher Cox is elite and the NFL considers him one of the best in the game at his position … Shame on you !

Even though every ounce of midnight green blood in our body wants to throw up the flag of defiance, it’s hard to do so. DJ Reader (Cincinnati Bengals), Christian Wilkins (Miami Dolphins) and DJ Jones (Denver Broncos) arrive in front of Hargrave. Of course, you can mix and match guys here and there based on personal preference, but there’s no clear violation on the part of the author of this one, Dalton Miller.

The point is this. There’s a ton of talent in the National Football League. Cox, while clearly not what he once was, is better than a ton of guys in the league. He’s not worth $14 million, and no team would have given him that (other than Philly of course). Still, in a rotation that includes rookie Jordan Davis and Milton Williams, Fletch should be able to wreak havoc from time to time.

Hargrave is coming off a Pro Bowl season, and deservedly so. He cooled off later in the campaign, but only because after a torrid start, the double teams we normally see thrown in Cox’s direction finally started being assigned to him. Philly has yet to sign him for an extension, but he should show and prove again in the 2022-23 NFL campaign.

The point is this. Leaderboards are fun. They give us something to talk about, but in the end, despite the accuracy of Miller’s take, no one should worry. The Eagles’ defensive line will make waves in the coming season, and like Philadelphia’s offensive front, they’ll factor in the success of the Birds once games start counting toward wins and losses.


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