Philadelphia Eagles

Does Penn State's Gross-Matos Makes Sense for Eagles in 1st Round of NFL Draft?

An intriguing edge rusher who had 35 tackles for loss and 17 ½ sacks in his two years as a starter for the Nittany Lions, Yetur Gross-Matos elevated himself into the 1st-round conversation with a very good NFL Draft Combine performance in February.

At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Gross-Matos is a rangy, athletic, active rusher who developed a good variety of pass-rush moves in college that will serve him well in the NFL. He's versatile and quick enough to be a stand-up rusher as well as lining up in a three-point stance.

Gross-Matos has good size and good athleticism but needs to get a lot stronger. His success in college came from good technique, athleticism, effort and a wide array of moves. But he needs to develop more strength to compete against the powerful offensive tackles he'll see every Sunday.

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Current roster at DE: The Eagles don't have a lot. Brandon Graham returns for his 11th season and is playing as well as ever but just turned 32. Derek Barnett has been OK when healthy but hasn't played like a top-15 pick. And all the Eagles have after that is guys like Josh Sweat, Joe Ostman, Shareef Miller and Genard Avery. There's definitely a need.

How he would fit: Considering that Jim Schwartz rotates his defensive ends so much, Gross-Matos would have a significant role right off the bat. Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat were the third and fourth ends last year and Curry played 397 snaps and Sweat 355. Gross-Matos would be an upgrade over Sweat, who had 4.0 sacks, and Miller, who didn't play a snap on defense. Curry isn't currently on an NFL roster.

Eagles' history at Edge in draft: The Eagles have selected at least one defensive end in eight of Howie Roseman's nine drafts (all but 2011). They've taken three in the first round under Roseman – Graham in 2010, disastrous Marcus Smith in 2014 and Barnett in 2017. They haven't drafed an end in the second round since Curry in 2012 or the third round since Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in 2010. The Eagles have drafted three Pro Bowl defensive ends since 1980 – Clyde Simmons in the ninth round in 1986, Derrick Burgess – who made two Pro Bowls with the Raiders - in the third round in 2001 and Trent Cole in the fifth round in 2005.

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