On Wednesday, we took a look at the defensive ends in our Training Camp Position Preview series, which means it's time to delve into the Eagles' defensive tackles ...
Bringing Out The Best In Fletcher Cox
It's been a little over a month since Fletcher Cox signed his six-year contract extension and the excitement about what he will achieve this year continues to grow. Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, Cox is set to have a monster year in the team's 4-3 scheme. In a 3-4 in 2015, he was able to accumulate 104 tackles, 32 quarterback hurries, 16.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Now with more opportunities to get up field and in the quarterback's face, Cox is bound to only increase his production.
In addition to his new contract and excitement about defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's system, Cox is also reuniting with his college defensive line coach in Chris Wilson. Under Wilson, who was named the Eagles' defensive line coach during the 2016 offseason, the defensive tackle finished his three-year career at Mississippi State with 114 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and was named a 2011 All-America.
Originally drafted by the Eagles No. 12 overall in 2012 for a 4-3 system, 2016 may very well be a new page in the book for Cox – one that showcases his talents even more so than the past few years.
Critical Year For Bennie Logan
After spending the first three years of his NFL career at the nose tackle position, Logan will get a chance to move back to defensive tackle in a 4-3 system this season for the first time since his college days at LSU. However, 2016 will also be important for the fourth-year player because Logan is entering the final season of his contract and will be looking to make as much of an impact on the field as possible.
Logan finished 2015 with a calf injury that left him sidelined for the final two contests of the year, but still managed career-best numbers with 67 total tackles and nine tackles for loss. According to Pro Football Focus, Logan also ranked second in the league among defensive tackles and nose tackles when it came to stopping the run. With more freedom in a 4-3 defense this season, Eagles fans shouldn't be surprised if Logan puts up even bigger numbers, especially when he and Cox are paired together.
Get to know the disruptive forces up front, better known as the Eagles' defensive tackles. How will the transition to the 4-3 impact this position group?
Just as is the case with the team's defensive ends, the Eagles have valuable depth at the defensive tackle position as well. In addition to Beau Allen and Taylor Hart, both of whom are entering their third seasons in Philadelphia, the team added fifth-year veteran Mike Martin and undrafted rookie free agents Aziz Shittu, Destiny Vaeao and Connor Wujciak to the roster this offseason.
With the new defensive approach, the team is clearly looking for players with explosiveness and an attack mentality. Will one of the rookies state his case during camp? Will Martin continue to get looks as he did during the team's OTAs? The defensive tackle depth chart will clearly be one to pay attention to as Training Camp gets underway next week.
|Training Camp Roster: Defensive Tackle|
|Name||Age||Exp.||Signed Through||2015 Games Played (Started)|
|Beau Allen||24||3||2017||16 (2)|
|Fletcher Cox||25||5||2022||16 (16)|
|Taylor Hart||25||3||2017||14 (1)|
|Bennie Logan||26||4||2016||14 (14)|
|Mike Martin||25||5||2016||5 (0)|