How the Eagles’ Defensive Talent Stacks Up

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent ColeYesterday, we went over how the Eagles’ offensive talent stacks up.

Today, let’s take a look at the defense.

I sometimes wonder if Sean McDermott looks at the moves the Eagles have made on that side of the ball the last two years and thinks: Where was this when I was the defensive coordinator?

This offseason, the Eagles used three picks in the first two rounds on defensive players. They also acquired middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Texans. But is the Birds’ talent where it needs to be on defense?

Again, we reference Michael Lombardi’s annual project on Lombardi names blue-chip and red-chip players throughout the league. Blue-chip players rank among the top-five at their respective positions. Red-chip players rank among the top-10. On offense, the only Eagles player who got a mention was LeSean McCoy.

But Lombardi seems to like the Birds’ talent on defense a little bit more.

Trent Cole is listed as a blue-chipper, alongside Minnesota’s Jared Allen, the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul, Seattle’s Red Bryant and Chicago’s Julius Peppers.

Jason Babin makes the list as a red-chipper. He’s joined by the Giants’ Justin Tuck, Houston’s J.J. Watt, Miami’s Cameron Wake and Detroit’s Cliff Avril.

No Eagles made the cut at defensive tackle, although I think you could probably make the case for Cullen Jenkins as a red-chipper. It’s only one part of the equation, but his 5.5 sacks ranked sixth among defensive tackles in 2011. The Eagles, of course, are hoping that rookie Fletcher Cox reaches red-chip or blue-chip status in the next couple of years.

It’s no surprise that the Eagles were shut out at linebacker. If DeMeco Ryans can be a top-10 inside linebacker this year, Howie Roseman, Andy Reid and Juan Castillo will be thrilled.

At cornerback, despite Nnamdi Asomugha’s underwhelming first season in Philadelphia last year, he is named a red-chip player. Writes Lombardi, “Asomugha struggled in Philadelphia last year, but he is still a solid corner when he plays press coverage.”

Meanwhile, we could find out what the league thinks of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie if he hits the market as a free agent after the season.

And of course, no Eagles at safety.

Overall, per these rankings, the Eagles have two blue-chip players (McCoy and Cole) and two red-chip players (Babin and Asomugha).

Feel free to chime in below on whether you think any other defensive players deserved a mention.

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