The Philadelphia Eagles have addressed a few different positions this offseason through free agent acquisitions and resigning key players. However, there are still positions on both sides of the ball that could improve through the draft, especially at defensive tackle.
The Eagles are in need of a run-stopping defensive tackle. At 6-foot-6-inches, and 310 pounds, Ra’shede Hageman could be the piece that the Eagles are seeking. Hageman is quick on his feet for a player of his size and Trent Cole provides a pass rushing threat that would result in a well balanced defensive line should the Eagles draft Hageman.
The former Minnesota Golden Gopher has the size and talent to be effective against the run, but has lacked consistency. He has been criticized for not using his hands properly to shed off blockers and not using his length to escape double teams. However, with NFL experience, those types of things can improve.
William Sutton out of Arizona St. is another possible candidate to take over at defensive tackle for the Eagles.
Sutton has a much different physique than Hageman, measuring in at 6-foot-1. His small, compact build gives him an advantage over most interior offensive lineman because of the leverage he is able to use.
Sutton also played multiple positions along the defensive line in college, giving Chip Kelly and his coaching staff some flexibility in regard to where they might want to stick him along the line.
Although Sutton had a disappointing senior season, finishing with only 4 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss, it is difficult to ignore his 2012 campaign that earned him Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
When it comes to brute strength, Daquan Jones out of Penn St. may be the prospect that the Eagles should consider to fill the void at defensive tackle. Jones is a powerful nose tackle who has a bullrush that wreaks havoc on quarterbacks.
The only concern with Jones is his conditioning. He has lost 25 pounds during the offseason, but his in-game endurance has been questionable. Nonetheless, his ability to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense makes him a viable option for the Eagles.
While the Eagles displayed an inability to stop the pass on defense, ranking last in the league in passing yards allowed, they struggled against the run as well, giving up more than 100 yards per game. If Bill Davis and the Eagles defense are able to contain opposing running backs in 2014 and force offenses into third and long situations, the high scoring Eagles offense will finally be given some much needed help on defense.