Where does the Eagles’ defensive line rank going into 2021?
During the 2020 season, despite the rest of the team failing to meet expectations, the Eagles’ defensive line was one of the NFL’s best. The group finished third in the NFL in sacks led by veteran edge rusher Brandon Graham. Graham finished the season with eight sacks and was nominated to his first-ever Pro-Bowl in the process.
Between the tackles, Fletcher Cox started the season slowly but finished with 6.5 sacks alongside nine tackles for loss. Fletch wasn’t the only one who had a rough start, though. New signing Javon Hargrave took almost half the season to find his footing with the Eagles. By the end of the season, he looked just as advertised and meshed well alongside Cox.
Pro Football Focus has continued their position rankings going into the 2021 season, and the Eagles have been all over the place. Jalen Hurts was ranked the 31st best QB, while both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz were top 15 tight ends, to name a few.
PFF had Graham 14th among all edge rushers, just behind J.J. Watt and ahead of Cardinals linemen Chandler Jones. For Cox, he was ranked 6th amongst all interior defensive linemen, while teammate Javon Hargrave was ranked 20th.
“Cox finds himself at No. 6 following a down 2020 season by his lofty standards, but he has been Aaron Donald’s biggest competition for the No. 1 spot on this list in most seasons since 2014. Cox ranks second among all interior defenders in total pressures over the past five seasons (302).”
Graham’s ranking seems fair with the edge position being extremely loaded in the NFL, but I was surprised to see Cox and Hargrave ranked so highly after not having their best seasons. Hopefully, this group can continue its success in 2021 after the Eagles drafted several linemen during the 2021 NFL Draft and signing veteran Ryan Kerrigan.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports