Eagles’ projected defensive depth chart ahead of OTAs
We predicted that the Eagles would look much different when the team reconvenes at the NovaCare Complex for the 2023 off-season program.
Philadelphia lost ten free agents, retained five of their own, and added three free agents from other teams during the first wave of signings and agreements.
The organization then committed five years and $255 million to All-Pro quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Defensive coordinator Sean Deseai is a Vic Fangio disciple like Jonathan Gannon before him.
For the Eagles, that means a 3-4 base, lots of zone coverage, two-high safety looks, coverage on the backend geared to prevent big plays, and producing sacks without blitzing.
With the draft now complete and rookie minicamps approaching, here’s an updated look at Philadelphia’s projected defensive depth chart.
Starter — Josh Sweat
2nd — Derek Barnett
3rd — Matt Leo
Barnett is returning from an ACL injury but will likely be a rotational pass rusher in 2023.
Starter- Brandon Graham
2nd — Nolan Smith (rookie), Tarron Jackson
3rd — Janarius Robinson
Brandon Graham is returning, as well as Derek Barnett, who missed the 2022 season with a knee injury.
Jackson saw action as a rookie in 2021, and Janarius Robinson offers potential off the edge. The wildcard will be the rookie Nolan Smith, who’s listed as a linebacker, but could complement Haason Reddick by replacing Graham on obvious passing downs.
Starter — Jalen Carter
2nd — Milton Williams
3rd — Moro Ojomo
The All-American was among the first draft picks to sign his rookie deal, proving he’s more than ready to work.
With the 3-4 base, the depth chart doesn’t necessarily dictate snaps and playing time, with Milton Williams, Carter, Ojomo, and Kentavius Street all capable of playing multiple positions.
Starter — Jordan Davis
2nd — Marlon Tuipulotu
3rd — Moro Ojomo–rookie, Noah Elliss
Davis returns, starting at his natural position, while Marlon Tuipuloutu will return from a knee injury.
Starter — Fletcher Cox
2nd — Kentavius Street
3rd — Brandon Graham
Fletcher Cox returned on a one-year deal, and he’ll likely be a starter in a reduced role in the Eagles’ deep rotation.
Street can play multiple positions, while Brandon Graham is adept at sliding down to defensive tackle.
Starter — Haason Reddick
2nd — Nolan Smith
3rd –Patrick Johnson
4th — Kyron Johnson
Reddick returns after logging 16.5 sacks and will be joined by Nolan Smith, allowing Sean Desai to move both players around.
Starter — Nakobe Dean
2nd — Christian Elliss
3rd: Ben VanSumeren
With T.J. Edwards moving on to Chicago, Dean will get the nod at one linebacker spot, and we predict special teams standout Christian Elliss will make his presence felt as well. Michigan State rookie linebacker Ben VanSumeren lurks as well, but he won’t be added until his signing is official.
Starter — Nicholas Morrow
2nd — Shaun Bradley
3rd– Davion Taylor
The Eagles lost Kyzir White to the Cardinals but signed Nicholas Morrow away from the Bears, where he’ll likely start ahead of Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor.
Starter — Darius Slay
2nd — Greedy Williams
3rd — Zech McPhearson
4th — Eli Ricks
After signing a two-year, $42 million extension, Darius Slay is back in Philadelphia.
Eli Ricks and Mekhi Garner are both names to watch for the practice squad.
Starter — James Bradberry
2nd — Josh Jobe
3rd — Kelee Ringo
4th — Tristin McCollum
The Eagles re-signed James Bradberry to a three-year, $38 million deal, ensuring the NFL’s top cornerback duo stays together. Ringo is the big name as a draft pick, but Jobe proved himself in the SEC, and he’s a year ahead as a pro.
Eli Ricks and Mekhi Garner are both names to watch.
Starter — Avonte Maddox
2nd — Josiah Scott
3rd — Mario Goodrich
Starter — Sydney Brown
2nd — Reed Blankenship
3rd — Justin Evans
Safeties are supposed to be interchangeable, and Brown will battle second-year safety Reed Blankenship for the free safety role.
It could play out that Blankenship and Brown are both more talented than Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans, allowing the young duo to develop together.
Starter — Terrell Edmunds
2nd — K’Von Wallace
3rd — Mekhi Garner
The safety position is interchangeable in the Eagles’ defense, and Edmunds gets the nod over Justin Evans opposite Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown.