Build along the line of scrimmage. It is the manner in which the Eagles build their football team – win in the trenches and you win the football game. So it's no surprise at all that Philadelphia continues to add to its defensive line, agreeing to terms on Thursday with defensive lineman Kentavius Street, who enters his fifth NFL season with numbers to suggest he is projecting upwards.
Last season with the New Orleans Saints, the versatile Street posted his best career statistics with 3.5 quarterback sacks, 29 total tackles, eight quarterback hits along with five tackles for loss. He played in a rotation in the Saints' extremely talented defensive front and he added bounce, effort, and production to a defense that, as the Eagles found out in a 20-10 loss in Week 17 loss at Lincoln Financial Field, was among the league's best.
Originally a fourth-round draft pick out of North Carolina State by the 49ers in 2018, Street was part of a defensive line that saw all four starters drafted for the first time since LSU's defensive line was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Joining Street, the 128th pick that year, were some outstanding players: Bradley Chubb (Denver Broncos, 5th overall), B.J. Hill (New York Giants, 69th overall), and Justin Jones (Los Angeles Chargers, 84th overall). Street played in 51 career games (35 starts) at N.C. State and registered 123 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and six passes defensed.
He suffered a torn ACL in a pre-NFL Draft visit with the New York Giants that sidelined him for all of 2018 and for all but the final three games of 2019 and then he returned to action in 2020, producing 11 total tackles in 15 games.
The injury stunted Street's development, then, for most of three seasons. And that's why the last two seasons have been his best, and why the Eagles think he is on an upward trend with his performance.
Street made a big step forward in 2021 for San Francisco, contributing three quarterback sacks, 27 total tackles, and a career-best six tackles for loss before signing with the Saints as an unrestricted free agent.
After playing both tackle and on the edge for the 49ers, Street stayed mostly at tackle last season for New Orleans and used his quick first step and power to have success, particularly down the stretch for the Saints. The 6-2, 287-pounder had six pressures and 2.5 sacks in the final six games of the season.
The Eagles lost Javon Hargrave to San Francisco in free agency and retained Fletcher Cox for the 2023 season and the tackle room is a good one with Cox, second-year man Jordan Davis, third-year man Milton Williams, and some developing players the Eagles want to take a look at in the summer: Marlon Tuipulotu, Noah Elliss, and Marvin Wilson.
Add Street to the mix now, and understand that if the Eagles think they can further upgrade via the NFL Draft or in free agency, they will do so. The line of scrimmage is where it all begins and the Eagles aim to dominate there once again in 2023.