Odd Man Out at Defensive End?

The Eagles defensive line was as disruptive as advertised, even without starters Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Unless you’re riding the Nick Foles wave, Jim Washburn’s unit was the source of comfort in an up-and-down preseason win over the Steelers.

There is one small issue to address.

“We’ve got tons of guys,” said Darryl Tapp.

They really do. Especially at defensive end. Cullen Jenkins started the game on the outside along with Tapp. Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt were the next tandem in, and Vinny Curry followed.

The thing is, they all performed. Hunt had a pair of sacks. Graham had a sack and two tackles for a loss, and helped force a fumble. Curry led the team with five tackles and three tackles for a loss. Tapp added a half-sack.

“Man, that felt real good. Not even having Babin and Trent, it felt real good to know that we’ve all been working real hard in camp and it seems to be paying off,” said Graham.

Washburn’s style is so physically grueling that it is necessary to regularly rotate fresh bodies into the game. Depth essentially is a must.

“We’re all starters,” said Tapp. “That’s how Coach Wash expects us to approach the game. When your number is called, you’ve got to perform.”

But is there room for everyone? With Jenkins seeing snaps on the edge, there are seven players vying for time at defensive end. Will there be an odd man out?

“Honestly, in our room we don’t think about that. We think about getting better,” said Tapp. “Coach Wash demands a lot of us – that’s where our focus is at. Talk about anything else, and he’ll do something crazy.”

In our projected 53-man rosters, Sheil has the Eagles keeping 11 linemen: Cole, Babin, Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Derek Landri, Graham, Tapp, Hunt, Curry, Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton. That’s under the assumption that Mike Patterson is put on the PUP. I have them keeping 10 for now – removing Dixon from the equation (though I am not sold on that, especially after Dixon started Thursday night).

Do you make a trade to add depth at another position? Would it make sense to send Tapp’s $2.6 million elsewhere while filling a need (safety, offensive line)? The personnel department has some decisions to make.

“Everybody is looking for that job. I love it,” said Graham. “It’s the competition. Everybody is working hard. Basically sky is the limit for everybody on this team, because everybody looks good.”

You can follow Tim on Twitter and email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com.

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  • I would seriously think about moving Cullen Jenkins. I would try to trade him and go with Cox, Landri, Thorton and Dixon.

    • southjerzz

      jenkins is a force to be wrecking with thou, at least we kno for sure we have replacement DTs

  • deg0ey

    It makes me sad that some of these awesome players won’t get to make the roster, but guys like Jarrett are likely to still be here.

    • southjerzz

      your absolutely right, but honestly i think he gets cut

  • Unfortunately, everyone seems to agree that Tapp is the odd man out. I feel like he is far better than Dixon. (At their respective positions) We’re in good shape with cap space right now, but we have yet to see what happens with Patterson. I wonder if they’ve considered moving any of the DEs inside from time to time. Brandon Graham seems to have bulked up enough to move inside from time to time.

  • southjerzz

    Jarrett looked horrible in the preseason game, on top of that Ryans was getting blown up and looked lost on certain plays. To be honest this team is starting to look like last years team. Bell has been demoted to the 2nd squad so. I’m alil worried about the LT pos. AND TO TOP IT OFF. poor tackling, somebody quote me if im wrong

    • bell didnt move to 2nd string reid just wanted king to get a chance to play

  • southjerzz

    Can anyone answer this question for me? Why is Riley Cooper still on this roster and even after being injured how does he have a secured 4th WideOut spot? What do the eagles see in him?

  • TheBulStef

    I think the eagles will end up keeping hunt over tapp.Not saying that’s right or wrong and I say that because hunt is emerging as the better player at getting pressure on the qb.
    I was a tapp fan myself but seeing hunt in that last game was like watching a monster on the field..he got pressure whenever he wanted to AND he got pressure from either side!!(left or right)..I’m thoroughly impressed

  • rohash

    I’d trade Tapp for safety help or a draft pick. I’d also look at trading Patterson since we have so much depth and talent at DT. Gotta keep Dixon, he’s the big run stuffing DT we need on short yardage. Thronton was a beast against the Steelers. I think he gets promoted from the PS tthe roster.