With the selection of Fletcher Cox, what does the defensive tackle position look like for the Philadelphia Eagles?
The Eagles have tweaked the defensive tackle position throughout the offseason. Cullen Jenkins restructured his contract after he had 5.5 sacks and earned Pro Bowl alternate honors in 2011. Antonio Dixon finished 2011 on injured reserve with a triceps injury, but is now healthy and was re-signed to a one-year contract in the offseason. Derek Landri was also re-signed to a one-year deal after he led the team in tackles for loss with eight last season.
There is still defensive tackle Mike Patterson, the longest-tenured member of the Eagles. Patterson underwent offseason brain surgery, but the team is optimistic he'll be the Week 1 starter alongside Jenkins. Despite the brain condition discovered after a seizure in training camp, Patterson had arguably one of his best seasons as a pro.
The Eagles also have another promising young defensive tackle in Cedric Thornton, who made the team as a rookie free agent in 2011.
The selection of Cox is one of tremendous value at a position of strength for the team. However, Jenkins is 31 years old. Patterson will be 29 when the season begins. It doesn't hurt to add a young, pass rush talent to the mix. Look back in 2002 when the Eagles drafted cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown despite having established starters Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor. At the same time, the Eagles rotate their linemen so Cox will have an opportunity to earn snaps early.
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