Who stays, who goes? The Eagles' defense

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Who stays, who goes? The Eagles' defense
February 4, 2013, 9:00 am
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Over the next two days, Geoff Mosher and Reuben Frank will go name by name through the Eagles roster, picking who stays and who goes for the 2013 season. As the defense is in need of the biggest overhaul, we'll start there:

Memo to: Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman.

Re: Eagles defense

Subject: Brooms, dustpan, Windex...

Time for house cleaning, fellas. While the offense has some superstar talent worth keeping, the defense needs an overhaul. Forget their Pro Bowls, their paychecks, their experience. If they didn’t give it all for a respected veteran coach like Andy Reid, they’re not going to perform for a transplant college coach without any NFL experience.

Of the 26 defensive players who ended the season on the active roster or practice squad, we’re keeping 11 (and we’re probably being too kind). Almost all of the secondary has to go and most of the veterans need to be sent packing, too.

This is Kelly’s team now and he needs to put his stamp on it from the start. Here’s a look at who stays and goes on defense:

Nate Allen: Has one year left and once had great upside. Might as well see if he can be salvaged. Stays.

Colt Anderson: Should never be anything other than a No. 4 safety and special-teamer, but deserves a chance to compete. Stays.

Nnamdi Asomugha: Wouldn’t keep him if he agreed to a base salary of $3. Not because he can’t play anymore but because he represents much of went wrong over the past two seasons. Clean slate needed. Goes.

Brandon Boykin: Athletic, young, physical player who should have been looked at last year on the outside. Good future ahead of him. Stays.

Jamar Chaney: Really disappointing last season. Needs scenery change. Goes.

Trent Cole: No 3-4 experience but that’s no reason to send the best pass rusher packing. Line him up at rush linebacker and watch him return to double-digit sack form. Stays.

Kurt Coleman: Tough one because he’s a max-effort guy with good smarts, but it’s time to get some fresh faces in the secondary. Goes.

Fletcher Cox: Not going anywhere, except from interior tackle to defensive end in the 3-4. He’s a rising star but needs to mature. Stays.

Vinny Curry: Lacked ideal size (6-3, 260) for defensive end in the 4-3 but has agility for 3-4 end, which could boost his career. Met with a bunch of 3-4 teams in last year’s pre-draft process. Stays.

Antonio Dixon: Shed major pounds last year after eating himself out of an NFL job. Now he’s probably too small for the nose in a 3-4, which the Eagles now need. Hard worker but they can do better. Goes.

Brandon Graham: With one year left on his rookie deal, Graham should get the chance to see if he can carry over last year’s momentum -- at outside linebacker. Stock rose a little last year, so if the Eagles find a trade partner, that would be the one reason to move him. Stays.

Brandon Hughes: Good leader, solid on special teams, but if he becomes a victim of the roster overhaul, those are the breaks. Goes.

Phillip Hunt: Great guy but really didn’t capitalize on his limited chances. Could he excel as a rush linebacker? Maybe. But the Eagles have a bunch of those. Goes.

Cullen Jenkins: Had some productive seasons at defensive end in Green Bay’s 3-4 but his welcome here is worn out. The team needs new faces in the locker room. Goes.

Akeem Jordan: He’s been an impact special-teamer and reliable backup, but you don’t keep those guys around for seven years. Time to find a new one. Goes.

Mychal Kendricks: Should adjust seamlessly back into the 3-4 as an inside 'backer, where he played at Cal. Height is a deterrent, but good player to have. Stays.

Derek Landri: Battled injuries last year and more fits DT in 4-3 scheme. Goes.

Curtis Marsh: Another really good guy who just can’t play at the NFL level. Was raw when they drafted him and hasn’t developed enough. I’d move him back to offense. If not, then ... Goes.

Casey Matthews: Familiarity with Chip Kelly’s defense helps, but I think he -- and the team -- are better off if Matthews has a new address. Goes.

Mike Patterson: Another great guy whose leadership is significant, but the team is moving on and must start fresh. Tough call here, but ... Goes.

Ryan Rau: Try-hard guy who can make an impact on special teams. Let him compete. Stays.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Falls into Nnamdi’s category. I’m not convinced he can’t play, but I am convinced that the secondary needs a new face and identity. Goes.

DeMeco Ryans: If there’s a trade partner out there, pull the trigger. If not, keep him and he can be a serviceable base linebacker, even in the 3-4. But he’s not a star. Stays.

David Sims: Still don’t know if he can or can’t play, but if I’m overhauling the roster, then he’s out with the rest of them. Goes.

Darryl Tapp: Like Patterson, a great guy to have in the clubhouse. But Tapp’s production hasn’t earned him the right to come back. Goes.

Cedric Thornton: Another scheme-versatile player who can move to defensive end in the 3-4 and be effective. Gotta keep him. Stays.

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