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November 01, 2017

Eagles second quarter report cards: Defense edition

Eagles NFL

In the first quarter of the 2017 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles went 3-1, and as you might imagine, they mostly earned good grades. After a perfect 4-0 second quarter of the season, the Eagles remain atop the NFC East at 7-1, with a 3-0 record in the division, and at least a 2.5-game lead on all their division rivals.

On Tuesday, we handed out individual grades to the Eagles' offense for the second quarter. Today, we'll grade the defense.

• DE Brandon Graham: Graham just continues to make plays that don't show up in the stat sheet, the latest of which was when he hit the arm of Kirk Cousins as he was trying to throw, leading to an interception by Corey Graham. However, this season Graham is also making plays that do show up on the stat sheet, as he is on pace for 10 sacks this season, which would be a season high by a wide margin.

Grade: A-

• DE Vinny Curry: Curry has quietly had a good season, particularly in the run game, which was once a negative attribute. In the last four games, Curry has 15 tackles and two sacks. He has produced despite coming off the field in obvious passing downs in favor of Derek Barnett.

Grade: B+

• DT Fletcher Cox: Fletcher Cox has missed two games, but he has a sack in all but one of the six games in which he has participated. Cox is not only making plays worthy of his pricey contract, but he opens up opportunities for the rest of the defensive line because of the attention he garners from opposing offensive line schemes.

Grade: A-

• DT: Timmy Jernigan: There was a concern that Jernigan takes plays off after the Eagles acquired him from the Ravens via trade this offseason. I haven't seen that. Jernigan's numbers aren't great, but he has been a disruptive presence in opposing backfields.

Grade: B

• DE Derek Barnett: After a slow start, statistically anyway, Barnett had a breakout game against the Redskins, when he sacked Kirk Cousins twice. Barnett's hustle is there, and he has become a legitimate rotational rush end early in his career. Barnett only recently turned 21 years old, and will only get better.

Grade: B+

• DE Chris Long: Long didn't have any sacks in the second quarter of the season, but he has created pressure consistently when he has gotten pass rush opportunities, and I think it's fair to give him a slight bump for his locker room presence.

Grade: B

• DT Beau Allen: Allen was the reason for the Niners' comically bad QB sneak attempt last Sunday, and he has been good on early downs in the Eagles' run defense, which is best in the NFL.

Grade: B

• LB Jordan Hicks: Hicks is now done for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Grade: N/A

• LB Nigel Bradham: Bradham was quiet during the first quarter of the season, but he came alive in a big way against the Panthers Week 5, and has consistently played very well in every game since. Bradham has worked his way into the conversation as a "must keep" next offseason.

Grade: A-

• LB Mychal Kendricks: As we noted in our film breakdown of Kendricks earlier this week, he is simply a different (and better) player than what he has shown the last few years.

Grade: A-


RELATED: Eagles second quarter report cards: Offense edition


LBs Najee Goode and Joe Walker: We'll give them more than a week of playing time before we grade them. 

Grade: Inc.

• CB Ronald Darby: Darby remains out after being injured Week 1 against the Redskins.

Grade: Inc

• CB Jalen Mills: In the last four games, Mills has 15 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 2 INTs, including a pick six. He has tackled well, he has covered well, and he is a huge reason why nobody is overly worried about when Ronald Darby will return or when Sidney Jones will suit up.

Grade: A-

• CB Rasul Douglas: In the second quarter of the season, Douglas has five pass breakups and a pick. The pro level has not at all phased Douglas, as he looks the part of a corner with a bright future.

Grade: B+

 CB Patrick Robinson: I'm still in awe of how well Robinson has played after his absolutely atrocious start to training camp, when he looked like he might not even make the team.

Grade: A-

CB Jaylen Watkins: Early in his career, Watkins couldn't tackle me, but he has transformed himself into a legitimately aggressive, physical player.

Grade: B

• S Malcolm Jenkins: As we noted last quarter, Jenkins hasn't had his best season statistically. Yet, his verstaility and leadership really can't be understated.

Grade: B+

• S Rodney McLeod: After a shaky first quarter of the season, McLeod has been better as he continued to get healthy. He has four pass breakups and a pick the last four games.

Grade: B

• S Corey Graham: Graham looked old and washed up in the first quarter of the season, when the Chiefs' Kareem Hunt blew right by him on a long TD run. However, he was hampered by a hamstring injury in that game, and has looked better since.

Grade: B

 S Chris Maragos: Maragos is done for the season with a knee injury.

Grade: Inc.

Eagles D1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q GPA 
 Brandon GrahamA- A-   3.7 
 Vinny CurryB- B+   3.0 
 Fletcher CoxA- A-   3.7 
 Timmy JerniganB+   3.15 
 Derek BarnettC+ B+   2.8 
 Chris LongC+   2.65 
 Beau Allen  3.0 
 Jordan HicksN/A   2.0 
 Nigel BradhamA-   2.85 
 Mychal KendricksB+A-   3.5 
 Ronald DarbyInc. Inc.   N/A 
 Jalen MillsC+ A-   3.0 
 Rasul DouglasB- B+   3.0 
 Patrick RobinsonB+ A-   3.5 
 Jaylen WatkinsN/A   3.0 
 Malcolm JenkinsB- B+   3.0 
 Rodney McLeod  2.5 
 Corey Graham  2.0 
 Chris MaragosInc.   1.0 



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