Player-by-Player Report Card for the Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive Edition

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Player-by-Player Report Card for the Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive Edition
Al Bello/Getty Images

Let's take another opportunity to reflect on the Philadelphia Eagles' disappointing 2012 season by grading each of the team's key contributors on defense. You can view my offensive grades right here.

 

Defensive Ends

Brandon Graham: A

Graham only started the final six games of the season, but between that and his rotational contributions during the first 10 weeks, he was the team's best defensive player in 2012. He finished tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks and was rated by Pro Football Focus as the second-best 4-3 end in the NFL.

 

Vinny Curry: N/A

Curry's included because I want to mention that the rookie second-round pick looked pretty solid in limited opportunities. But there weren't enough of them for him to earn an actual grade. Things look promising, especially if Curry gets to become a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013.

 

Trent Cole: C

Prior to 2012, Cole hadn't posted fewer than eight sacks in a season since his rookie year in 2005. But the former Pro Bowler had a career-low three sacks in 16 starts this year, which is shocking. His total pressures number dropped off from 67 to 46. He's only 30. Is Cole declining or was this just an off year?

 

Darryl Tapp: C

It was also the worst season of Tapp's career from a total sack standpoint. The veteran has always been a good run defender, but he had just half a sack on 257 snaps in 13 games. There's a chance his time in Philadelphia has run out.

 

Defensive Tackles

Who was Philly's best defensive player in 2012?

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Fletcher Cox: A

There was a stretch in Weeks 11 and 12 against Dallas and Washington where the rookie first-round pick was the best defensive player on the field. If he can become more consistent in 2013, he'll be a perennial Pro Bowler in no time. 

 

Cullen Jenkins: C+ 

Jenkins, who is 32 now, hasn't been quite as effective since moving from Green Bay to Philly. However, a move back to the 3-4 could help. He had seven sacks with the Packers as a 3-4 end in 2010, but had just four in 2012 with the Eagles. He also missed six tackles, per PFF. It wasn't a great year.

 

Cedric Thornton: C

He didn't stand out in any way, but still made some positive contributions to the defensive line rotation. 

 

Derek Landri: D

He got more playing time this year due to Mike Patterson's injury, but was actually less effective. Landri's run defense slipped up, and he was held without a sack for the first time since his rookie season in 2007.

 

Outside Linebackers

Akeem Jordan: D

You know your linebacking corps is in trouble when Akeem Jordan is your top-rated outside linebacker with a D. Jordan's top accomplishment this year was that he missed only two tackles in seven starts and 14 total games. But he was far from being a tackle machine or a playmaker. This man is supposed to be a backup linebacker.

 

Jamar Chaney: D-

And so is this man. Chaney forced zero turnovers and had just 24 tackles in five starts and 14 total games, missing four tackles to bring his two-year total to 15.

 

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Mychal Kendricks: D-

At least the rookie second-round pick had nine passes defensed, 75 tackles and a sack in 15 games. The problem is he was constantly out of place, he missed a ridiculous 14 tackles and he made zero high-impact plays. 

 

Inside Linebackers

DeMeco Ryans: B

Ryans disappeared here and there, but overall, he had a quality season in the middle. He had a steady season from a tackling perspective and led the team by a wide margin with 57 defensive stops. He's not a superstar, but he's certainly an above-average middle linebacker.

 

Cornerbacks

Brandon Boykin: C

It looks as though the Eagles might have a fairly long-term answer at nickel cornerback after Boykin did a decent job during his rookie season. The fourth-round pick out of Georgia received a higher Pro Football Focus rating than any other defensive back on the roster, holding opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of just 54.0.

 

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: C-

DRC started 2012 strong, but then fell back into old habits with a multitude of coverage lapses. He wasn't beaten close to as often as Nnamdi Asomugha, but he's a one-dimensional player who still screws up far too often. He gave up five touchdown passes and missed 11 tackles. 

 

Nnamdi Asomugha: D

At least DRC had three interceptions. Asomugha had just one while also giving up five touchdown passes. The veteran might be a better all-around player than Rodgers-Cromartie, but he was an embarrassment in 2012. The 120.6 passer rating he gave up was the fifth-worst number in the NFL. Amazing considering how great he was for so long in Oakland

 

Safeties

Nate Allen: F

It's impossible to say who was worse, Allen or Kurt Coleman. Both missed an embarrassing number of tackles, and both were out of position over and over again. Neither deserves to start anywhere in 2013, which is why both get failing grades. 

 

Kurt Coleman: F

Of 88 qualifying NFL safeties, Allen and Coleman ranked 84th and 85th respectively, per Pro Football Focus. 

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