Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

Training Camp Position Preview: Edge Rusher

Bryce Huff
Bryce Huff

Think of it this way, with the always-creative Vic Fangio overseeing things defensively for the Eagles: It is an open book and any way that Fangio can create a favorable matchup on the edge and disrupt an opposing quarterback, he's going to do it. That's why the Eagles have loaded up on edge players who bring with them a variety of skills, who have talents that allow him to use them in multiple ways, and who are going to show a little something different from one series to another.

There is quality here, and there is depth, and what we see in Training Camp and throughout the preseason should be electric as the Eagles work their way to 53 men on the active roster.

A top-of-the-list player the Eagles targeted and ultimately signed in free agency was Bryce Huff, who had 10 quarterback sacks and 68 quarterback hurries in just 420 defensive snaps for the Jets last season, his fourth there. Huff, the Eagles believe, is a rising player who will fit right into what Fangio wants off the edge, and that he will set the edge against the run and have the ability to drop into coverage when asked to do so.

Brandon Graham returns for his record 15th season as an Eagle and his energy, relentlessness, and experience will be a great asset to the edge group. He will be a mentor of sorts for the rest of the room, but Graham also showed last season that there is a lot in the tank and that he plans to make this season one to remember.

Also back is Josh Sweat, wearing spiffy jersey No. 19, and hopeful of building on an Eagles career in, suddenly, his seventh season. Sweat recorded a crazy-high 76 quarterback pressures last season and he plans on closing on the quarterback and building on a sack total that reached double digits in 2022.

Nolan Smith is in his second season after showing flashes in his rookie season of being a player who has a great get-off, the ability to bend the quarterback, and win with speed and power. He projects to having a big role in 2024.

Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson are young veterans here and they've contributed when given the chance in past seasons, and with Fangio here, the slate is clean for both players looking to impress.

The ultimate success of the edge group also relies on some new faces joining Huff, which we can dig into below.

Bird Talk: "One of the things you look for is his skill set and I think one of the things that Bryce wants to show is that he's heavy-handed, he understands leverage, he's got explosiveness in his body. The Jets did an unbelievable job of having that edge rusher position really filled with – I think they had five or six guys when I look at their depth chart – and they were trying to find roles for guys and get guys playing time. We don't play our edge guys 90 percent of the time. We believe in having fastballs off the edge and getting guys in the game." – Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman on Bryce Huff

New to the Nest: Along with Huff, the Eagles drafted Jalyx Hunt in the third round out of Houston Christian. Hunt was a safety at Cornell to start his college career before blossoming into an edge presence, winning Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors this past season. The Eagles also added Terrell Lewis on a reserve/futures contract in January and he has played three seasons in the NFL, with seven starts and six quarterback sacks in his time with the Rams. Julian Okwara played four seasons in Detroit and had some pass-rushing punch with five sacks in the 2021 season. Okwara had two sacks and 12 quarterback pressures in nine games with the Lions last season.

Notable Stat: Brandon Graham has 73 quarterback sacks and 120 tackles for loss in his 195 regular-season games with the Eagles. He enters his 15th season in Philadelphia, a franchise high.

Under the Microscope: Smith, a first-round pick in 2023, has a chance to take a big leap forward in his second NFL season. Huff, after his breakout season in '23, moves to a new team and a potentially larger role in this defense. Sweat offers a lot of options with his hand on the ground or from a stand-up position as he looks to return to double digits in sacks and disruptive plays.

Related Content