Eagles expect Logan to grow into dominant DT

Eagles expect Logan to grow into dominant DT
February 21, 2014, 2:00 pm
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The Eagles went 7-1 -- and their run D improved significantly -- last season after Bennie Logan took over as the starting nose tackle. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS – It was a logical conclusion. It made sense.

After the Saints rushed for 185 yards against the Eagles in their wild-card game in January – twice the Saints’ season average – a lot of fingers were pointed squarely at nose tackle Bennie Logan.

And why not? The nose and the middle linebacker are the first guys in a 3-4 you look at when you’re evaluating run defense. And although Logan had played well in his rookie year during the regular season, he seemed to get pushed around by the Saints in the playoff game.

At maybe 300 pounds, Logan seemed a little small to be a nose in the Eagles’ odd front, so conventional wisdom said that nose tackle – a big, strong, tough, 325-pounder the Eagles could plop down in the middle of their defensive line – would be high atop the Eagles’ offseaason shopping list.

Not so fast.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman brushed off the notion that the Eagles need to upgrade the nose tackle spot during a chat with Philly reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

He said Logan, a third-round pick out of LSU in 2013, can carry another 20 pounds on his frame and said Logan’s lack of height – he stands 6-foot-1 – is tempered considerably by his freakishly long reach.

“When you talk about Bennie, it’s kind of funny, because when you first see Benny, he’s 6-1, but he’s got a frame that can easily withstand 320 pounds,” Roseman said.

“He’s got 34-inch arms, he’s got really big hands, his wingspan is actually six inches longer than his height, so he has the wingspan of a guy who’s 6-3 or 6-4.”

Logan inherited the starting job from veteran Isaac Sopoaga, who the Eagles traded to the Patriots when they were 3-5 in late October.

With Logan starting the rest of the way, the Eagles went 7-1 and reached the playoffs, and the last five weeks of the season, they had one of the NFL’s best run defenses, allowing just 74 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry.

Logan, 24, finished with 43 tackles, two sacks, seven quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery despite playing only 40 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps (476 of 1,201).

The body of work, the way the Eagles see it, far outweighs one playoff game. And Logan certainly wasn’t the only guy in the front seven who didn’t have a great game against the Saints.

So erase defensive tackle from your list of Eagles needs. Roseman believes the Eagles already have the guy.

“We think Benny did a tremendous job as a rookie,” Roseman said. “He’s incredibly strong, he’s athletic, he’s got a very bright future.”