Sunday, December 28, 2014

How Antonio Dixon, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole would fit in a 3-4

INDIANAPOLIS -- If the Eagles switch to a 3-4 defense, it's expected that Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks will be able to adjust. But there are more questions about other players on the roster.

How Antonio Dixon, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole would fit in a 3-4

Eagles defensive lineman Trent Cole. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles defensive lineman Trent Cole. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

INDIANAPOLIS -- If the Eagles switch to a 3-4 defense, it's expected that Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks will be able to adjust. But there are more questions about other players on the roster. 

One of the key positions is nose tackle. Antonio Dixon, who is 6-foot-3, 322 pounds and 27 years old, would seem a potential candidate for the spot. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman sounded confident on Thursday that Dixon could play that spot.

“I don’t think any question about it," Roseman said. "That’s his skill set. He has good use of his hands. He’s a run stopper. He’s what you’re going to look for if you’re going to look for a nose tackle.”

Two other players that Roseman addressed are starting defensive ends Brandon Graham and Trent Cole. Both would seem potential candidates as stand-up pass rushers in the 3-4.

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"I think he can do that," Roseman said of Graham. "He can play. He can rush the passer. He can hold the edge. He can play in space. I think that's a transition Brandon can do. Wherever we go, I think Brandon can be a piece of that.”

Roseman said it's a projection, but both players were viewed as potential linebackers when they came out of college. Of course, Graham came out in 2010, while Cole came out in 2005, so much has changed.

***

Jason Peters continues to recover from a twice ruptured Achilles. Roseman said Peters has been around the building and is expected back "sometime in 2013."

 “For lack of a better term, he’s a freak," Roseman said. "He was able to do some things that not many people on this Earth could do. For us, it’s exciting to get that kind of talent back.”

***

One point of emphasis under Kelly is identifying the type of player he wants at each position. That means the Eagles might change or clarify their preference at some spots, specifically when it comes to body types.

“I’d say there’s a little bit more of a stress going forward here, on height, weight, speed," Roseman said. "At the same token, a good football player is a good player. We’re not going throw guys out that are extremely productive that have a skill set that are explosive. We want to look at that, but we don’t want that to be the only factor.”

***

Even though this is considered a draft class without top-end talent, Roseman said no one is going to cry for the Eagles that they drew a high pick this season -- in what seems to be a bad year to pick No. 4.

“We’re picking 4th. There’s not choice in that," Roseman said. "We never want to pick 4th again. …We’re going to try to…add someone who’s going to be a core player for a long time.” 

Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
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