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With Bennie Logan gone, Eagles must draft for defense…

I took this news release on the loss of Bennie Logan to free agency badly…I didn’t like hearing it. I thought he should play his whole career here. To my untrained EYE it was Brandon Williams #1, Bennie Logan #2, and then all the rest. Logan is getting $8 million for one year in Kansas City. Didn’t the Eagles offer him (reportedly) a 2-year extension deal at $9 million at one point? Did they pull the offer off the table when the team switched to a 4-3 defense?

Chris McPherson’s press release:

“The Eagles have a fourth starting spot on defense that they have to replace in 2017 as defensive tackle Bennie Logan agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.”

“A former third-round pick in 2013, Logan was a dependable player with 51 career starts on his résumé. He was a nose tackle in the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme from 2013-15, which is the Chiefs’ base defense. Stout against the run, Logan had expressed interest in returning to the Eagles, but wanted to seek what he could get on the open market. Logan visited with Washington over the weekend before ultimately joining Kansas City.”

“Who will start alongside Fletcher Cox this season? Fourth-year veteran Beau Allen has played all 48 regular season games since being a seventh-round pick of the team in 2014. He started three games in 2016 and recorded a career-high 32 tackles and four tackles for loss for the year. The Eagles signed defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao as a rookie free agent last season. Playing only 26 percent of the team’s snaps, Vaeao had 19 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The team also has another rookie free agent in Aziz Shittu, who spent his entire rookie year on the practice squad.”

Seriously? We lost Bennie Logan to free agency on a ONE-YEAR deal? You mean, he would have stayed here another year with a matching offer?

I guess the cap space is a lot tighter for the Eagles than was practical to pay Bennie for one more year. But still…

The Chiefs value Logan for his “versatility”in  a statement from GM John Dorsey:

“We’re excited to add Bennie to our defensive front,” Dorsey said. “He’s a versatile player whose presence in the middle will allow us flexibility along the line. He’ll be a very good addition to our defensive line room.”

Well that’s the reason I wanted to keep him…a true two-down nose tackle who could bring every aspect of that tough front three mentality to work as well in a four-man line.

The Eagles’ SB Nation blog Bleeding Green Nation had this to say about Logan:

“I’m going to miss Bennie. The Eagles clearly didn’t make a strong effort to retain him, but defensive tackle is going to be a big need for Philadelphia now. Bennie is a really good run defender. Playing as a 3-4 nose tackle in 2015, he was one of the best run-stuffers in the league. The Eagles’ run defense clearly suffered without him on the field last year. Fletcher Cox also failed to register a sack when Logan missed 3.5 games.”

Pro Football Focus argues that Logan was a poor fit for Philadelphia’s new, aggressive, one-gap defensive front, but in the same breath they say he had the second-best run-stop percentage in 2016, according to PFF.  The year before he notched 45 defensive stops, fourth in the league among all interior defenders despite playing just 597 snaps in total.

Okay, so he’s not the same pass-rush threat as, say, Dontari Poe, whom allegedly the Chiefs are trying to replace with Logan. But Poe is a 3-down guy who gets to play against a lot more passing situations. It’s a different role that Logan plays on the defense, and it’s just as valuable. Besides, Logan stands at 6’2 and 315 pounds. Poe is 6’3 and 346 pounds. And how quickly we forget the many times Logan was used on 3rd down or rotated in for late-game pass defense situations. His straight-up bull rush pushed people backwards and moved pockets.

Plus, Logan may not rack up the sacks but he gets plenty of pressures and hits on the QB. And there’s this fancy new stat called “defensive tackle win percentage” where D-Lineman vs. O-Lineman battles are accounted for. Logan handily beats Poe when it comes to win percentage (by almost seven percent), and absolutely crushes Poe in loss percentage (Poe losing twice as often as Logan on a snap-by-snap basis).

Yes, Poe had to play against a few more double-teams than Logan, but Logan went up against 3 double-teams for every 4 double-teams faced by Poe.

Logan’s abilities include extreme mental awareness of where the ball is and where the ball is going. He almost never gets washed out of a play without locating the ball. He can also run stunts and twists if you need him to…he’s extremely intelligent.

I think secretly the Eagles know just how good Bennie Logan is and how difficult it may be to replace him. He was more than just another big body. I wish I felt better about the current players at his position now on the Eagles roster, although Beau Allen has turned out to be a lot better than anyone originally thought. That’s why I think the Eagles Draft has shifted even more to the defensive side of talent than even before the Alshon Jeffrey/Torrey Smith signings. Add defensive tackle to that mBPA target list.

 

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