The Eagles have a pair of good DTs in Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. Those guys do their job - they clog the middle and make it tough to run. Bunk and Patt come off the field in passing situations. They aren't asked to rush the passer a whole lot. Their numbers reflect that. Neither guy gets many sacks, hurries, or QB hits.
This has led to a lot of discussion this offseason about just how good Bunk and Patt are. I can't stress enough that they do what is asked. We want them to stuff the run first and foremost. Getting pressure on the QB is job #2.
Adam Caplan started a confusing situation recently with comments about whether we run a 1-gap or 2-gap system in our base defense. All I can tell you is that I don't see our DTs firing off the ball and trying to penetrate with any regularity. We did that in the past. Corey Simon and Darwin Walker were 1-gap players that flew off the ball. We asked them to be disruptive. I don't see Patt and Bunk doing anything like that. And it isn't for lack of ability. Bunk and Patt were extremely disruptive players in college. I think they'd welcome the chance to attack more often.
Patt has been the starting LDT for 5 years. Bunk has been the RDT for 3 years. Patt is what he is. Not much changes when you've started for 5 years. Bunk still has room to grow, believe it or not. I don't mean that he'll get bigger, but that he can still get better.
Antonio Dixon impressed as a rookie in 2009. He looks like a real good backup. Trevor Laws has not impressed so far. He shows flashes, but seems lost with the way we use our DTs. He might get on the field more this year with the release of Darren Howard. He was our Nickel DT and that job could go to Laws. Or Trevor could get traded.
The DT class is deep and talented. I think the Eagles could look to add someone. The question is what kind of a player they want. The Eagles brought Brian Price (6'1, 303) to Philly for a visit. The Eagles checked out Earl Mitchell (6'2, 295) closely. They sent the D-line coach to ECU to look at Linval Joseph (6'4, 328). The Eagles met with Dan Williams (6'2, 327) at the Senior Bowl. These players range from 1st round talent to late round guys. They range in size and style. We still don't know exactly what the Eagles are looking for in a DT. You think finding out who killed JFK was hard? Child's play compared to figuring out what we'll do at DT.
Dan Williams is the most interesting guy to me. He played both nose tackle and the 3-technique at Tennessee. That means he can eat up blocks as well as get penetration and blow up plays. Dan really stood out at the Senior Bowl. He got tremendous push on pass plays. Blockers had a hard time containing him without help. The biggest area of need for us is someone who can push the pocket. You need a guy with bulk, strength, and power to do this. Dan gets a check mark in every category. The problem with Dan is that he could go as early as pick 9 to the Bills. He won't last much past pick 15. If the Eagles are really interested, he would have to be a trade-up target.
Again, I'm not sure that the Eagles do like him enough to go after him that aggressively. We can find a good DT in the 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th rounds. Heck, someone could slide to the 5th or 6th round. I hope we don't spend pick 24 on Brian Price. I don't think he's ideal value there. I'd rather go in a different direction. If the Eagles got him at 37 I'd be okay with that. I'm still uncertain if we truly like Price or if he's just a smokescreen. He's not that much different from Patt when he got here. He's also similar to Trevor Laws. Brian is better, but not substantially. If we do take Brian I hope we mix in more 1-gap and let him attack. He is pretty darn good when flying up the field.
One lesser name to remember...Torrell Troup. He went to UCF. Troup is about 315 pounds. He is athletic and big. He can eat up blocks or get by them. He could be real good value in the mid-rounds.
There is none, involving players. Behind-the-scenes chatter is quiet right now. I think the Eagles are open to dealing for a LB because the draft class isn't great, but I am not hearing any good rumors. The Skins might be dealing WLB Rocky McIntosh, but I'm not sure if we're interested. The fact he wasn't part of the McNabb deal really surprised me.
The Eagles are talking to the other 31 teams about the draft and trade scenarios. I'd love to hear one of the calls. You know these things have to be sorta weird with each guy wanting to get info without giving too much away.
My latest HuffingtonPost draft article is up. This is just some generic stuff. I try to write for the average sports fan when I do those pieces. Here's the link for anyone interested.
NFL Draft Notes