Defensive End: Trent Cole had another pro bowl caliber season and is one of the best overall defensive ends in the league. But he seemed to disappear in some games toward the end of the season. I believe his lack of production was due to Cole getting worn down because of the constant double teams he faced throughout the season. First Round pick Brandon Graham showed some flashes at times but was inconsistent and ultimately had his season cut short with a torn ACL.
He will have a tough time being fully ready to go for the season. I would expect that very little is done to upgrade this position in the offseason. The defense simply has too many other pressing holes. I can see Reid wanting to see how Graham and fellow rookie Daniel Te’o-Nesheim progress and keep veteran Juqua Parker as the starter. A wild card in the end discussion could be Victor Abiamiri who spent the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. He is a FA after the season but the team could decide to bring him back and let him compete for a job in training camp.
Defensive Tackle: Former Undrafted FA Antonio Dixon had the best year of all the Eagles tackles last season. The other 3 DT’s in the rotation are all high draft picks and are solid football players. The problem is none of them are difference makers. While I see room for improvement at this position, I simply don’t think there will be many players available who would be an upgrade over any of the current players. Unless they are able to get a top 5 pick and draft Auburn’s Nick Fairly or they sign potential FA Haloti Ngata, don’t expect much more than a late round pick to add depth.
Linebacker: WILL linebacker Ernie Sims was a disaster in his first and hopefully final season as an Eagle. He has tremendous athleticism but he was consistently out of position. Stewart Bradley was seemed to be slowed early in the season by the previous season’s ACL injury. Just as he showed some flashes of his old self, he was lost for the season with a nasty elbow injury. Rookie Jamar Chaney did a great job filling in for Bradley and might be the long term solution at the position. I would like to see Bradley resigned and allow him to compete for a starting job. SAM backer Moise Fokou had a solid season after taking over for Akeem Jordan. Fokou is capable of starting but he is not an elite player. This team needs a play making linebacker and this is a major need in the offseason.
Corner Back: Asante Samuel had another Pro Bowl season, but the team lacked a corner opposite him all season. Ellis Hobbs played poorly until an injury ended his season and may have ultimately ended his career. Dimitri Patterson played well at first but was really exposed by teams late in the season. For this defense to be successful, it needs to have 2 solid corners.
Safety: The two safeties of the future might have been drafted in the 2010 draft. FS Nate Allen has the tough job of replacing Eagles Legend Brian Dawkins and being the player who was drafted via the pick acquired for Donovan McNabb. His play tailed off toward the end of the season but I believe he can be a starter in this league for a number of years. 7th round pick Kurt Coleman filled in for Allen after his injury and did decent job. He lacks elite athleticism but is a great “football player” and has great instincts. Veteran Safety Quintin Mikell had another good year but is a FA after the season and will be 31 in September. And we all know how players over 30 are usually treated by the Eagles. I would like to see Mikell resigned and let Mikell, Allen and Coleman compete for the 2 starting spots.