253 draft picks transformed the NFL in a matter of days. Around the League will examine the aftershocks by asking one post-draft burning question for all 32 teams.
Do Cox, Curry give Philly the NFL's best D-line?
I'm reminded of a conversation with NFL.com's Gil Brandt in the final minutes before Super Bowl XLVI. In the press box high above Lucas Oil Stadium, with the Giants and Patriots warming up below, I asked Brandt to predict the outcome. He didn't waste any time in picking the Giants, citing Eli Manning's feverish late-season play and, even more importantly, New York's defensive line. The combination of the two are critical to playoff success, Brandt said.
New York's fierce, deep line has guided the team to two championships in five seasons, and the competition has taken notice. Teams are trying to copy the Giants, but it's no simple task. The next best thing might be the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that employs an aggressive 4-3 base scheme that succeeds when its tackles and ends take over. You simply cannot have enough linemen in this system. The effort to restock and upgrade is ongoing.
Andy Reid and the Eagles did exactly that in the draft, trading up to grab the player they most desired in tackle Fletcher Cox with the 12th pick. One round later, they selected defensive end Vinny Curry, adding depth to a group that already includes tackles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins; and end Trent Cole, one of the most complete players at his position. Of course, let's not forget Jason Babin, third in the NFL in 2011 with 18 sacks.
Cox is a versatile force who plays inside and out and fits like a glove in coach Jim Washburn's wide-9. Curry adds even more layered depth to a line that led the league with 50 sacks in 2011.
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo suffered through 2011, learning on the job and failing, at times, to correctly use available talent (especially in the defensive backfield). Castillo was critiqued early, but his defense came together by the end of the year.
Philly's focus on defense will generate havoc for opposing quarterbacks. It's premature to call the Eagles the best team in the NFC East with New York sitting there, but they might be in the running for the division's (and football's) finest defensive line.
Giants fans: Start typing.