NFL Draft 2011: Eagles May Have To Address Defensive End Early

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIMarch 28, 2011

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 28: Brandon Manumaleuna #86 of the Chicago Bears blocks Trent Cole #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on November 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Eagles 31-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With Andy Reid recently saying Brandon Graham would be a "stretch" to play the opener in September, the Eagles have a potential gaping hole with the pass rush.

Trent Cole cannot consistently remain effective the entire year, especially without anyone remotely adept to rushing the quarterback. Cole had his best moments, when Graham was starting to fit into the defense.

Juqua Parker, like Cole, is not consistent enough as a pass rusher and wears down easily. He would fit in as more of a situational pass rusher, not a starter, which is where the Eagles have been forced to play him.

Darryl Tapp had a decent season last year, but could not take a firm grip on the job after Graham's ACL injury. Tapp has never played up to his great potential.

Other options include Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, but all he has done is disappoint. He was overpowered easily and could not use his leverage to generate any rush.

Ricky Sapp is more of a situational defensive end that can use his great speed. Sapp will have to come back from a season-ending injury, so any production would be a plus from him.

Recently-signed Phillip Hunt played in the CFL a season ago, so production probably cannot be counted on.

This leaves a potential gloomy future for the Eagles' pass rush. Not getting consistent pass rush has knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs the past two seasons, and though the defensive end position was addressed three times in last year's draft, I would not be surprised if Andy Reid drafts another pass rusher high.

Even if Brandon Graham returns midseason, can the Eagles count on any production? ACL injuries usually take two years to recover from, evidenced by linebacker Stewart Bradley.

Reid understands the importance of having dominating lines and will have to address the defensive end position.

If the Eagles want to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they will have to find a solution to the pass rush.