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Candidates: Antonio Dixon vs. Derek Landri vs. Phillip Hunt vs. Darryl Tapp vs. Cedric Thornton vs. Maurice Fountain
Anyone who knows anything about Andy Reid knows he loves his defensive linemen, and his ideal roster would probably consist of 53 defensive linemen. Realistically, the Eagles probably won’t keep more than nine or maybe 10 players, especially since the team utilizes such a rotation of its players, and new first round pick Fletcher Cox is versatile enough to play both tackle and end.
Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Mike Patterson, and Cullen Jenkins are the projected starters, with Cox, Brandon Graham, and second round pick Vinny Curry all as locks to make the team. That’s seven guys right there, which means the six candidates at the top are fighting for anywhere from one to three spots.
Maurice Fountain has spent so many consecutive years in the AFL and UFL that he will probably be stashed on the practice squad for now.
Cedric Thornton is a long shot to make the team and Darryl Tapp’s $2.45 million base salary will make him a salary cap casualty in training camp.
That leaves Antonio Dixon, Derek Landri, and Phillip Hunt battling it out for the final two spots.
I think Hunt will make it because he is the lone defensive end of the three, which puts Dixon against Landri for the final tackle spot.
Landri had a strong season in the wide nine in 2011, rating as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Meanwhile, Dixon spent most of the season on Injured Reserve after tearing his triceps, so I think the Eagles will choose to go with Landri for the final spot.