Heading into training camp, it’s worth taking a look at a few IDP position battles that have yet to be resolved. There is potential production available on the waiver wire depending on who wins each role. And knowing who’s competing in each battle will give you a leg-up when injuries inevitably occur.
Philadelphia Eagles DE
Last season, snaps at DE in Philly broke down as follows: Brandon Graham 666 snaps in 15 games, Vinny Curry 578 snaps, Chris Long 495 snaps, and 1st Round rookie Derek Barnett 424 snaps in 15 games. The Eagles allowed Curry to walk in free agency and brought in Michael Bennett and Josh Sweat.
This has the makings of a very deep rotation, a messy rotation that could, unfortunately, limit everyone’s production. Graham led the way with 47 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 2 FFs. Curry ended with 42 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and 1 FF. Long put together 28 tackles, 5.0 sacks, and 4 FFs. Finally, Barnett ended his rookie season with 21 tackles, 5.0 sacks, and 1 FF. This meant Graham was the only useful DE in all but the deepest of deep leagues.
If you’ve got Graham, your hope is his role remains the same. Curry’s absence leaves 578 available snaps. Barnett should take a step forward, but it’s hard to see him getting 600 snaps overall barring injury. Long will likely reprise his role from the previous season, maybe even seeing a slight dip in snaps. Bennett will need to see plenty of snaps. He could move inside on passing downs to create more opportunities for the DE group as a whole.
Sweat is also added to the mix. Sweat was considered a 1st Round prospect by some draftniks but fell to the 4th Round due to a knee injury suffered in high school. Doctors even discussed amputating Sweat’s leg at the time. If everything goes according to plan this season, Sweat’s role will probably be limited to special teams, maybe less than 100 defensive snaps. An injury to someone above him on the depth chart would increase that. If Sweat forces his way onto the field in the preseason, however, it could muddy the rotation, even more, limiting everyone’s production.
This feels like a situation to avoid this season, but keep your eyes out. This DE group could look much different next season. Graham is in the last year of his contract. Will Philly resign him just before his 31st birthday? Long considered retirement after winning his second straight Super Bowl. After another season, he’ll likely consider it even more. Bennett is signed through 2020, the same year Barnett’s rookie contract ends. But Bennett will turn 33 in November. The 2019 season could see Barnett ascend to the DE1. Who will be his wingman is completely up in the air at this point.
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