The Philadelphia Eagles DL depth chart is outrageously talented from top to bottom. Howie Roseman has put in as much effort as possible to build a contender while Jalen Hurts is cheap, and he’s struck gold on the defensive line.
The Eagles’ DL is one of the most dominant units in the NFL. No matter what front Sean Desai wants to employ, Philadelphia has acquired the talents to pull it off.
Philadelphia Eagles DL Depth Chart
The Eagles’ “base” front will be a five-man front. Philadelphia’s “starters” will change from week to week depending on what personnel the offense puts on the field for the first play. But their base will likely be Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox, and Jordan Davis.
If Philadelphia comes out in a four-man front, that likely changes. Davis will come off the field, allowing Cox and Carter to peruse the middle. But that won’t always be the case either, because Davis will sometimes be on the field as a 1-technique, depending on the situation.
“The scheme is the scheme, and there’s a lot of ways to play our scheme and do some things differently. And we have some flexibility and the ability to adapt to some different situations,” Desai told the Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast.
Defensive line rotations can be confusing. Let’s look at how the pieces fit into the different fronts that Desai deploys.
The Eagles’ Tite/Tuff Front Depth Chart
While specific alignments vary, these fronts deploy a 9, 4i, 0, 4i, and 9-technique. We’ve already discussed what the starting five would look like in this situation. But what does the entire rotation look like in this case?
Sweat, Reddick, and Georgia (duh) rookie Nolan Smith are the three true fits as 9-techniques on the roster. Patrick Johnson would be fourth on the list as a fit there, but Desai would probably rather have Brandon Graham or Derek Barnett play the role and make sure the call allows them to be a rusher and not put them in a spot where they need to cover in the flat or hook.
It’s nice to have a duo that can truly be used interchangeably like Carter and Cox on the interior. Many times one of the “defensive ends” (4i) will be a designated rusher with an inside path. That rusher plays with the 9-tech to his side. The other 4i plays as a contain rusher outside of the tackle and won’t be as aggressive.
Kentavius Street is a nice piece to have for 4i depth. And while there is a contain aspect to it depending on factors that would take their own dedicated piece to explain, the position can also be a slasher. That fits right into Milton Williams’ athletic strengths coming off the bench.
Sean Desai’s Nickel and Dime Front Depth Chart
While the Tite front is a gap-and-a-half defense, Desai’s four-down nickel and dime groupings come with a one-gap deployment.
Williams will likely get more run here on obvious passing downs as a 3-technique. Yet, things get tricky, considering Carter is an absolute freak of nature on the defensive interior. On obvious passing downs, they could play on the field simultaneously.
We could also see Graham play the 7-tech role along with sliding down inside on passing downs to rush into the B gap.
What will be fascinating is seeing how the bottom of the depth chart rounds out. Graham, Cox, Carter, Sweat, Reddick, Smith, Davis, Williams, and likely Street are all safe.
Moro Ojomo could be a surprising contributor in the 3/4i role. He’s the type of “tweener” athlete who could surprise people if the Eagles can develop his athletic traits into technical ability.
“I want to come in and contribute,” Ojomo told reporters last month. “I want to come in and learn. This is a great organization with a great D-line with just great people, great culture, everything. I just want to come in here and contribute as much as I possibly can and ultimately learn and keep increasing that. I don’t ever want to be stagnant.”
Johnson, Janarius Robinson, Tarron Jackson, and Marlon Tuipulotu will all fight for the last few spots on the 53-man roster in late August. But no matter what front Philadelphia is in, they have the talent to bring wave after wave of talented players at opposing offensive linemen.