Fortunately for Eagles, the draft is deep at DT

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Fortunately for Eagles, the draft is deep at DT
February 26, 2013, 11:00 am
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Defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd (Florida), Star Lotulelei (Utah) and Sylvester Williams (North Carolina) could all be possibilities for the Eagles in the NFL draft. (AP)

With Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis likely switching to the 3-4, veteran defensive linemen who don't fit the new scheme are being jettisoned. Gone are stalwarts Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins, both of whom are best suited as one-gap, three-technique tackles, rather than the bigger two gap nose tackle a 3-4 usually requires.

Now the Eagles are looking at a rather large hole in the middle of their line. Although general manager Howie Roseman appears confident Antonio Dixon could fill that role (see story), the Eagles should have several options in the draft, which has a deep and talented DT class.

1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Floyd, a George Washington High alum, is probably best suited as a three-technique tackle, but if the Eagles think he could add some weight (6-3/297) without losing too much of his outstanding quickness and explosion, they could take a flier on the Philly native. I'm not a big advocate of trying to change a player to fit what you need, so I doubt Floyd is the guy at No. 4.

2. Star Lotulelei, Utah
Loutlelei was just diagnosed with a heart condition at the Combine and is getting a second opinion in Utah. He did not work out at the NFL event. If doctors conclude the heart irregularity was simply caused by dehydration or rapid weight loss, and he shines at his Utah pro day, Lotulelei could once again be considered a possibility at No. 4. He's big enough (6-2/311) and strong enough to anchor at the nose, and his quickness is terrific for a man his size.

3. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
There's a good chance Williams may be gone before the Eagles choose in the second round, but if not, the athletic Williams (6-3/313) could be a steal. He has a sloppy body, but it moves surprisingly well, and a little time in an NFL strength program should do wonders for him.

4. John Jenkins, Georgia
Jenkins is what a 3-4 NT looks like (6-4/346). Huge and powerful, Jenkins needs to show he can be consistent in both his technique and motor to be a dominant force. If the Eagles think they can kick start the big guy, a second-round pick would be a tremendous value.

5. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
A massive athlete (6-3/320) with feet of a man who weighs 100 pounds less, Hankins is a special player who could thrive in both a three and four-man front. The only drawback is his inability to stay on the field. Not because of injury, but fatigue. If Hankins ever gets in shape, he'll be a terror. But until then, his value is middle of the first to early second round.

6. Jesse Williams, Alabama
Williams is one of the strongest players in college football. At 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds, he has the size and power to anchor the nose. He won't be much of a penetrator, but that's not what they need from him. He should be there in the second round if the Eagles like him.

7. Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State
My sleeper pick for the Eagles in Round 2, Williams, a three-time Division II All-American, has the size (6-1/335) and strength (38 reps of 225 at the Combine) to be an effective 0-technique tackle. He may be available early in the third round and would be a steal.

8. Kwame Geathers, Georgia
A backup to Jenkins in Athens, Geathers' massive frame (6-5/342) is intriguing. His play is sloppy, and he'll need a lot of coaching, but he's worth a fourth- or fifth-round pick. He could be a force, even in a limited role.

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