Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Eagles among heaviest defensive front sevens in the NFL, which doesn't mean much

In their playoff game last season against the Saints, the Eagles gave up several key first downs on 3rd and short and 4th and short, which played a big part in their loss. Rightly or wrongly, some of the blame was levied on rookie NT Bennie Logan, who was considered undersized at 309 pounds. Logan has since added about 10 pounds to his frame.

Eagles among heaviest defensive front sevens in the NFL, which doesn't mean much

Eagles defensive linemen Cedric Thornton (left) and Fletcher Cox. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Eagles defensive linemen Cedric Thornton (left) and Fletcher Cox. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

In their playoff game last season against the Saints, the Eagles gave up several key first downs on 3rd and short and 4th and short, which played a big part in their loss. Rightly or wrongly, some of the blame was levied on rookie NT Bennie Logan, who was considered undersized at 309 pounds. Logan has since added about 10 pounds to his frame.

At the conclusion of the 2014 draft, there were some fans who were upset that the Eagles didn't get a big-bodied space eater for the middle of their defense until the seventh round. For example, one player who was available when the Eagles were on the clock in the third round at 83rd overall was 331 pound Notre Dame NT Louis Nix. The Eagles instead opted to trade out of that spot.

The Eagles also had opportunities to sign big bodies for their defensive line in free agency. For example, Linval Joseph (6'4, 323), BJ Raji (6'2, 337), and Paul Soliai (6'4, 340) were all available, but the Eagles didn't appear to show any interest in any of those players.

So the question is... Does weight really matter?

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Using Ourlads' depth charts, I added up the weights of the front seven projected starters for every team in the NFL. To my surprise, the Eagles have the seventh heaviest projected starting front seven in the NFL. Here's the list, with each team's 2013 run defense ranking in the far right column:

The 10 heaviest teams include the best rush defense in the NFL (the Cardinals), and the worst (the Bears). It includes three teams in the top 10 in rush D (Cardinals, Jets, Eagles), and three teams in the bottom 10 (Bears, Packers, Texans). And then it includes a lot of teams in the middle of the pack.

If you look at the 10 lightest teams in the NFL, four of them were in the top 10 in run D last year (Niners, Lions, Seahawks, Rams), and sure enough, three teams were in the bottom 10 (Dolphins, Colts, Cowboys).

In other words, it would appear that there is almost no correlation between the weight of NFL defensive front sevens and how well they'll play the run.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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