The Philadelphia Eagles will be switching to a 3-4 defense under head coach Chip Kelly, marking a drastic change for the team's veteran defensive players who have operated only in a 4-3 scheme at the NFL level.
Kelly won’t likely employ a strict 3-4; he’ll utilize a 3-4, a 4-3 Under and even a straight-up 4-3 as he feels fit.
Defensive ends Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will be rushing the quarterback from the outside linebacker position, while last year’s first-round pick, Fletcher Cox, will slide to 5-technique end. Gone are tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, with nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga coming over from San Francisco to occupy the traditional 0-technique role.
Cox seems to be the only lock to make the starting lineup.
Given the success he had as a rookie and his stature as a first-round draft pick, the Eagles will pencil him in as a starter. The other positions, including the rotational spots at end and tackle, are up for grabs.
Longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson heavily utilized a rotation on the defensive line, employing nearly every lineman in a multitude of snaps. Since the Eagles don’t have a superstar on the line, expect the same approach from new defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
The Eagles currently have 12 defensive linemen on the roster, plus several more defensive ends who have been relocated to 3-4 outside linebackers.
The following takes a look at what the Eagle fans can expect from their team's defensive linemen in 2013.