With Daniel Te'o-Nesheim officially joining the Eagles roster, the 10th of 13 draft picks to do so, the question now is what kind of impact the third-round pick can have as a rookie for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
Te'o-Nesheim is part of the overhaul on the defensive line and is certainly expected to make an impact getting after the opposing quarterback. But let's not forget that the Te'o-Nesheim selection, 86th overall, was pegged as a "reach" by many draft analysts who didn't expect the University of Washington product to go so high. And while the rookie certainly hasn't even come close to proving anything yet, it's obvious that the Eagles expect the soft-spoken lineman to make an immediate impact.
It's likely that his biggest contribution, at least as a rookie, will be rushing the passer from the inside on third downs in nickel situations. Of course, using defensive ends as inside pass-rushers has been a staple of the Eagles defense since the late Jim Johnson took over and Te'o-Nesheim seems perfectly suited to help carry on that tradition. In that capacity, he'll likely fill the void left by the departed Darren Howard.
During the post-draft mini-camps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Te'o-Nesheim did indeed line up inside with the first-team nickel defense, along with Darryl Tapp. Some may point to Te'o-Nesheim's size, 6-3, 263, and say that he's too small to play against guards and centers. But Te'o-Nesheim already has a successful track record of making an impact up the middle, where he was utilized often during his career at Washington - a career in which he became the program's all-time sack leader (30.5).
In the base defense during OTAs, he spent time on both the left and right side, further showcasing his versatility. In fact, Te'o-Nesheim is so versatile that he even practiced dropping into coverage in individual drills, so the coaching staff appears to trust the youngster's ability to make an impact all over the field.
Now that he's signed and sealed his contract, a four-year deal, the next step is for Te'o-Nesheim to deliver in training camp. Once the pads go on, we'll be able to better tell if he does indeed have the strength to get past interior offensive linemen when he needs to. The hope, of course, is that Te'o-Nesheim will combine with first-round pick Brandon Graham and Pro-Bowler Trent Cole to create a formidable pass rush for years to come.
- -- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:30 p.m., June 16*