EAGLES COMBINE CONFIDENTIAL: Defensive Line

The Eagles defensive line is aging and has some holes to fill, so help could come in the from of one of the following players in the draft
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INDIANAPOLIS – Age is creeping up on the Eagles’ defensive line.

Fletcher Cox is 29; Malik Jackson is 30 and coming off a Lisfranc injury that ended his season after only game with his new team.

After that, the defensive tackle group thins out quickly.

The defensive end isn’t very stable, either with Vinny Curry a free agent and Derek Barnett still trying to live up to the potential that made him a first-round draft pick in 2017. Brandon Graham is coming off a very strong season, but he will be 32 on April 3.

When Eagles general manager Howie Roseman talked about getting younger last month, he could have easily been referring to his defensive line.

Here’s a look at what could interest the Eagles in this year’s draft along the defensive line:

MARLON DAVIDSON

School: Auburn

Size: 6-3, 305

Best position: Still to be determined but is strong against setting the edge in run game so he could be a defensive end.

Notes: Played in shadow of teammate Derrick Brown, but tied Brown – a likely top six or seven pick – with 12.5 tackles for loss and led the Tigers with 7.5 sacks … Could have left prior to senior season, but promised his late mother he would earn his degree … A for-year starter … He will probably be gone by the early third round at the latest.

Quote: “I feel I can take advantage of the offensive linemen, the guards, the centers, whoever it may be, just because of my athleticism. I am a very athletic guy, even being this big I still have this wiggle to me. That being said, anyone who lines up in front of me, I’m thinking about dominating.”

JONATHAN GREENARD

School: Florida

Size: 6-3, 263

Best position: Defensive end

Notes: Ran a sizzling 4.87 in the 40 during the Combine … Connor Barwin, a special assistant to Roseman, met with him at least twice during the Senior Bowl and returned to Philly raving about him … Has great bend around the edge … Missed 2018 with wrist injury but is willing to play with pain … Had 15.5 tackles in 12 starts during his lone year with the Gators after transferring from Louisville when Bobby Petrino got fired. Also had 9.5 sacks in 2019 … He will be gone by the third round.

Quote: “I’ve got a really good get off that kind of threatens the tackles to get them to open their hips more so I can get my counter, inside moves. Overall, I just kind of like to keep them on their toes.

"I like to get my feet moving, get their feet moving, because I’m a better athlete than them and I can use that to my advantage. But yeah, I can kind of switch it up, I mean I can give them power a little bit, so it just depends on however I’m feeling or however I studied that tackle going into that week’s game.

KENNY WILLEKES

College: Michigan State

Size: 6-3, 264

Best position: Defensive end

Notes: Could be possibly be had in the fifth round or beyond … Projects as situational player in the NFL, but never underestimate a former walk-on who developed into a solid Big Ten Conference end, collecting 49 tackles for loss in three years with 23.5 sacks … Terrific work ethic as one might expect from a walk-on … Ran a 4.87 and bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times.

Quote: “Definitely a journey, definitely a process. I walked on at Michigan State as a Mike linebacker. Got the opportunity to start as a sophomore. Biggest thing for me was just staying disciplined, doing the little things, put in the extra work so when the time came, I was ready to rock and roll.

“I’m a physical player, so I like to set everything up with the run and the pass, hit you in the mouth a bunch of times. Once I start hitting them in the mouth, with the speed to power or long arm or bull rush, they start to shut it down and I can hit them with my swim inside or sweep around the edge.”

JUSTIN MADUBUIKE

School: Texas A&M

Size: 6-3, 293

Best position: Defensive tackle

Notes: Had 11 sacks the past two seasons and was the team’s defensive MVP last year … Probably would have to spend a second-round pick to get him … Ran a 4.83 with 31 bench press reps at Combine … Undersized but wins with leverage, strength and quickness.

Quote: “I take great pride in pass rushing, making sure I get the quarterback outside the pocket and get him uncomfortable. I'm quick, I'm powerful, I'm strong. I create pressure on the quarterback by the way I play. A great teammate, a great person. So, I believe I'm a guy that can definitely come into an NFL organization and make things happen quickly.

“It's always good as a defensive interior tackle to create pressure on the quarterback, so I take pride in that and I always try to work on that and even get better at that. I have a lot of work to do, put my head down and put my best foot forward and keep on working.”

DAVON HAMILTON

School: Ohio State

Size: 6-4, 320

Best position: Defensive tackle

Notes: May be able to land him in the fourth round with one of the Eagles three picks … Ran a 5.14 in the 40 with 33 bench press reps … Good at pushing the pocket but needs to develop better pass rush moves … A one-year starter on the Buckeyes’ defensive line and was third-team All-Big Ten last year as a starter, with 28 tackles, 10.5 for loss and six sacks.

Quote: “I just feel like I was able to enough have experience and really understand the defense, and I feel like as a defense as a whole, we came together and unified,” said Hamilton on becoming a starter for the first time this past season.

“It just made it real easy for anybody to really blossom. I would say I am a lot different (now than a year ago). I’ve learned a lot. I feel like I’ve really exploded onto the scene, and just been really blessed.”

OTHERS

Raekwon Davis, Alabama

Rashard Lawrence, LSU

Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina

Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Alex Highsmith, Charlotte

Jonathan Garvin, Miami