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Key Additions: DeMeco Ryans, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry
Not only were the Philadelphia Eagles the best defense statistically in the NFC East in 2011, but they fixed their glaring weakness from the 2011 group.
The defense let them down for the better part of last season, but played incredibly well down the stretch, leading to four consecutive victories to close the season.
The biggest problem—the middle of the defense—has been addressed with the trade for former Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and the trade up to draft defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Now, not only do the Eagles possess one of the best 4-3 front four's in the NFL, but they may actually have some linebackers to back them up. Adding Mychal Kendricks was huge for the Eagles; he was one of the fastest and smartest linebackers in this year's class.
Today's NBA has seemingly been captivated by teams with a "Big Three."
Well, the Giants won a Super Bowl behind their "Big Three" pass-rushers in Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul a season ago.
The Eagles now have three of their own pass-rushers that could rival their hated foes from up the highway with the addition of Vinny Curry. He, Trent Cole and Jason Babin will wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Ironically, you may be able to add the trade of Asante Samuel in the key additions section above. The Eagles never could figure out how to manage three Pro Bowl caliber corners last season. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha will now be the unquestioned starters, and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo can give them defined roles.
As long as the Eagles can stay healthy, this should be a top-five unit.