2011 NFL Draft: Is Defensive Tackle Really a Need for the Eagles?

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2011 NFL Draft: Is Defensive Tackle Really a Need for the Eagles?
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The Eagles love to build their defensive line through the draft.

Andy Reid spent his first round picks in 2005 and 2006 on defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley; then in 2007, he spent his first pick (second round) on Trevor Laws.

Though Patterson is a solid run-stuffing player, he never really developed the pass-rushing the skills the Eagles saw in him when he came out of USC.

Patterson actually looked to be a solid penetrating pass rusher his first couple of seasons in the league, but has really regressed to just a strong run defender.

Brodrick Bunkley showed his great potential in his second season with the Eagles, but was stuck in the wrong scheme, where he was not asked to fly up the field.

Bunkley still has potential to improve even though he will be entering his sixth season with the team.

His strengths will finally not be masked, as Jim Washburn's scheme calls for quick, disruptive tackles who can get up the field.

Bunkley played in that type of defense in his college days at Florida State, so there is still enough room for developing. Bunkley can finally show that he can push the pocket and rush the passer.

Patterson and Bunkley are the two expected starters; though they may not be great, both can greatly improve under Washburn, who is being hailed as the best defensive line coach in football.

Should the Eagles spend a high pick on defensive tackle?

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I think the Eagles would like another defensive tackle who could possibly replace Patterson as the starter, but unless they spend a first round pick on the tackle, is a second round or later player going to be that much of an upgrade over Patterson?

I do not even think that player would be a huge upgrade over the Eagles third and fourth stringers: Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws, who are two solid players.

Dixon is a great run stuffer, but could struggle with Washburn's scheme. Laws is a relentless player, who has proven to be a solid backup.

Therefore, if the Eagles think they can find a steal in the mid rounds for defensive tackle, I would be open to that, but spending another high pick on a defensive tackle would not be worth it.

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