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Eagles sign DT Jasper, and a look at DT in the draft

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This afternoon, the Eagles signed Defensive Tackle Ed Jasper to a one year deal. The Eagles love their one year deals huh? He was with the Oakland Raiders last year, but had spent the previous 6 years with the Atlanta Falcons. His career started right here however, with the Eagles who drafted him in the 6th round(35th overall) in 1997. For a guy picked so late in the draft, Ed Jasper has actually carved out a decent 9 year career for himself. He was known as a solid run stopper with the Falcons, where he played nose tackle in a 3-4, and a very good lockerroom guy.

This is a nice move for what it is, depth. Hollis Thomas is by all reports likely on his way out. He's in the final year of his deal, and is reportedly upset that he has not been given a long term deal. Like John Welbourne, Jeremiah Trotter, & Terrell Owens before him... you can imagine the Eagles will be getting rid of Thomas at some point this offseason.

So where does Jasper fit in? Patterson & Walker are the starters here, and Jasper won't change that. He even said in his press conference today that got worn down playing every snap. He'll be part of the DT rotation that Jim Johnson loves to run, but had trouble doing so with injuries to Walker & Grasmanis. He'll probably mainly get in during short yardage situations. Along with Sam Rayburn, Paul Grasmanis, & Kenyotta Marshall(in NFL Europe right now) he'll fight for a spot on the line. I would imagine that Grasmanis is the odd man out in that group... Plus don't forget that starting DE Darren Howard is likely to play DT in pass situations. So the Eagles realistically could be rotating as many as 5 guys on the interior of the defensive line.

So does this mean the Eagles think the DT hole is filled and will now ignore it? I doubt that, actually I think this move shows quite the opposite. The fact that they didn't go out and sign a guy to a long term deal tells me that they have their eyes on taking a DT high in the draft. Beyond Patterson & Walker there's very little at the position for beyond this year, only those 2 are signed long term. Good news is that it happens to a pretty good year to be looking for a tackle in the draft. There's 2 studs in the draft that are considered by most to go top 10 or top 15. Haloti Ngata the 6-foot-4 and 338 pound monster out of Oregon that regularly broke though triple teams in college & Broderick Bunkley the 6'3" 300+ lb guy out of Florida. He's rocketed up the draft boards since teams saw him at the senior bowl and witnessed his amazing show at the NFL combine. The drawback for Bunkley in my eyes is that before the workouts he was probably not a 1st round pick. The so called "workout warrior" reminds me all too much of Mike Mamula... AHH! Still, this Bunkley has bulked up considerably and seems like he may be the real deal. The problem with these guys is that most mock drafts have them going before the Eagles pick at #14. Luckily, this is a rather deep draft at the DT position.

There’s not another DT that has a lot of value at #14, but there’s lots of guys that would be worth trading down or should be there in the 2nd round. Here’s a quick overview of some names you may be hearing picked by the Eagles on the first day later this month…

Gabe Watson is a massive run stopper(6-3 and 339 pounds) out of Michigan. He’s not going to get to the QB very much, but he won’t get pushed around and swallow up most run plays that come his way. With a smaller pass rushing DT in Patterson drafted last year, I could seem them looking for a big run stopper like Watson. I doubt he’ll make it out the first round, which either means the Eagles will have to stretch for him at 14 or trade down. Orien Harris out of Miami, who was rated higher early but has slipped since the season ended. He’s considered more of a pass rusher. Claude Wroten out of LSU, who several mock drafts I’ve seen have the Eagles looking at him in the 2nd or 3rd round. He might be the best pass rushing DT outside of the top 2, but he’s considered a bit weak against the run. Rodrique Wright from Texas is another name that’s been throw around. He’s 6’5”, which is tall for a DT and sometimes lets OGs use leverage push him around. Of course there’s other guys, but these are some of the names I’ve seen connected to the Birds in mock drafts.

People who know me know I’m obsessed with building a team from the line of scrimmage. If I haven’t made it obvious so far, I will in the future. Other than a franchise QB, there’s nothing more important than dominating the line of scrimmage. All the rumors of the Eagles taking an offensive lineman like Winston Justice or a defensive tackle like Bunkley or Watson or a combination of both gets me rather excited.

2 Responses to “Eagles sign DT Jasper, and a look at DT in the draft”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous 

    there were too many words up there so I didn't read it. Let me try to sum it up...Eagles picked up Player X and if he plays well and works within the system they will be unstoppable down the line.

    how was that?

    Also. Only aliens bleed green. and their green blood is an acid that burn through metal. I saw a movie about it once. It was a documentary on the Space Marines and this one mission they had on this mad crunk planet. shit was crazy.

  2. Blogger JB 

    Hmmm, almost... More like the Eagles signed a guy and hopefully they draft another guy that will then make them unstoppable down the line.

    Also, aliens bleed white. I saw that in a movie too...

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