Who Stays, Who Must Go on Wretched Philadelphia Eagles Defense?

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles is introduced before the start of the Eagles game against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field on September 16, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are a mess defensively, and it's time to start figuring out who the organization needs to let walk and who deserves to stick around for the 2013 NFL season.

Philadelphia is currently 3-7 and dwelling in the bottom of the NFC East with the postseason out of reach. While the offense has suffered all season, the defense has been much worse despite having some highly-touted talent on the depth chart. 

The Eagles give up over 25 points per game along with over 340 total yards per game. Defensively, the unit has simply been middle-of-the-pack against both the run and the pass. 

While the offense isn't helping matters, it's clear the defensive unit is going to need an overhaul if it is to be successful in 2013. 

The question is, who stays and who goes? Let's find out. 


Who Stays? 

There are a variety of special players on the defensive side of things that the Eagles should retain and build around for the 2013 season. 

For example, it's clear that linebacker DeMeco Ryans isn't going anywhere considering he is the heart of the defense in the middle and already has well over 70 tackles on the season. 

Joining Ryans in 2013 will be rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Cox has proven to be a force in the middle with 28 tackles and three sacks, while Kendricks has proven to be a solid starter while racking up almost 50 tackles. 

Of course, Trent Cole is another big name that has to be brought back. He's one of the franchise's most proficient pass-rushers and will thrive with a better team around him. Jason Babin is another defensive lineman that needs to return considering he leads the team in sacks with 4.5. 

In the secondary, safety Nate Allen has been productive. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been inconsistent, but is far and away the best corner on the roster. He has intercepted a team-high three passes while tallying 26 tackles. Both have to remain as the rebuilding process continues. 

Joining them should be Kurt Coleman, who excels in defending the run and is second only to Ryans on the team in terms of tackles with 69. While he hasn't been perfect, he deserves a shot with quality talent around him. 

The Eagles should also hold on to role players Cullen Jenkins and Brandon Boykin. However, the front office needs to be careful in selecting the depth, because that has been a major issue for the Eagles all season long. 


Who Goes? 

Now to the more negative side of things. First up? Nnamdi Asomugha.

The former Oakland Raiders cornerback used to be known as the NFL's best, but that all stopped once he joined the Eagles. He has been horrendous and nothing more than an average defender. 

Asomugha is making $15 million in 2013. That money could be used to upgrade a variety of positions rather than wasted on a defender past his prime. The Aso experiment is clearly over, and the Eagles have to make the correct financial decision. 

Another starter that needs to be relieved of his duties is linebacker Akeem Jordan. While an outstanding depth option, he has simply been mediocre as a starter. Upgrades can easily be found in both free agency and the upcoming NFL draft. 

Defensive lineman Brandon Graham is another man who needs to receive his walking papers. He's a bust that has failed to have a major impact and his $3 million 2013 cap hit can be used elsewhere for quality depth. 

There are a few role players such as Derek Landri and Darryl Tapp that can be let go, which would allow the Eagles to address the depth issue in the upcoming offseason. 

Things aren't nearly as bad as they seem in Philadelphia this year, but the defense certainly needs some tweaking. 

Who do you think the Eagles should keep and let go on the defense this offseason?