Entering the draft, defensive line was a pressing concern for the Eagles, who will transition to a base 3-4 system in 2013. The team did not address their defensive front until the third round, when they took LSU’s Bennie Logan. He has an opportunity to win a major defensive role as a rookie. Here’s what the 6’2″, 309 defensive lineman will bring to the table:
Versus the run
Logan’s strength is his play against the run. Plays with excellent pad level on almost every snap and is tough to move off the line of scrimmage. On the occasion when he plays too high, he can get driven back. Not quick off the ball and doesn’t get much penetration. Able to use long arms (34″) to keep blockers at bay and hold his position. Can slip blockers and get into the backfield against zone runs, but he is more of a 2-gap defender. Doesn’t hold up well against double teams.
Not a rush-minded player. Doesn’t seek to penetrate except on obvious passing downs. Leverage makes him a good bull rusher (even against Chance Warmack). Athletic enough to run twists and stunts. Great feel for getting hands in the passing lane and deflecting throws. Will chase the QB outside the pocket and understands how to contain and stay at home. Not a very quick player, but shows good hand placement and demonstrates a few rush moves. Gets stoned too often and shows very little in the way of counter moves. Doesn’t take advantage of single blocks and will not be an effective pass rusher at the NFL level yet.
Logan has the physical tools to be a starting interior defensive lineman with versatility. On the short side for a 3-4 end at 6’2″, but makes up for lack of height with long arms. Bulk is ideal at 309 pounds. Natural strength is also above average. Speed and quickness are pedestrian, but Logan does not appear to have weight or conditioning issues. In order to become a top NFL player, he must improve his quickness and reaction time at the snap.
Other (durability, character, etc.)
Great intangibles. Eagles were blown away in the interview process and LSU awarded him #18 jersey, which is given to the player who best displays what it means to be a Tiger on and off the field. Described as a “tempo setter” by his college defensive coordinator. No major injury history, but hamstring issue prevented him from running at the Combine. Played mostly 3-technique at LSU, but also thrived in a 1-technique role. Could probably play all 3 spots along the defensive line.
Fit in Eagles system
Isaac Sopoaga will start at nose tackle and Fletcher Cox has one defensive end spot locked down, but Logan could be in the mix across from him at end. At the very least, he will provide depth at multiple spots. He could be Sopoaga’s successor at nose tackle, which may be his best position in the pros due to a lack of quickness. He should primarily play on running downs, and he will compete with Cedric Thornton for snaps in the base defense. He did not play an overwhelming percentage of snaps at LSU, and doesn’t project as a 3-down NFL player either. His role will be to stuff the run on running downs. He will do so at end as a rookie, but could play nose tackle in the future.
Logan offers limited upside, but he’s a solid addition to a defense that must add 3-4 personnel with toughness and character. He fills a big need and is ready to contribute as a rookie. His versatility will also help him get on the field sooner rather than later. He’ll always be more of a role player than a building block, but few third round picks ever turn out to be much more than situational players at the next level. He was a solid pick who has a future in Philadelphia.