With the 2017 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, the Philadelphia Eagles are busy putting some final touches when it comes to veteran additions. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen the signing of defensive end Chris Long and cornerback Patrick Robinson. General manager Howie Roseman also swung a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to acquire three-year Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan. The Eagles and Ravens will also swap third-round picks in this April’s draft as well. And as things have turned out, the move by the team comes at a very key time.

A little bad news

You will recall that the Philadelphia Eagles lost defensive tackle Bennie Logan to the Kansas City Chiefs via free agency.

It was indeed a big blow but the club has had high hopes for one of their younger players on the defensive front. But a positive has now become an unfortunate issue. That’s because three-year defensive tackle Beau Allen, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, suffered a chest injury while working out recently. Sources tell Berman that the 2014 seventh-round pick is likely facing surgery. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports that Allen could be sidelined anywhere from four to six months. It’s worth noting that the former University of Wisconsin standout played in all 48 games since joining the Eagles in ’14. This past season, he would make three starts and finish with 29 tackles, half-a-sack and one fumble recovery.

It’s important to note that the move to acquire Jernigan was made before Allen was injured. But losing the young defender does hurt the club in terms of proven depth inside.

Tim won’t be tiny

In any case, we all saw the strides made by the Philadelphia Eagles defense this past year under new coordinator Jim Schwartz.

A club that allowed the third-most total yards in the NFL and was dead last in the league against the run in 2015 finished 13th in total defense and 15th vs. the rush. And the coach has high hopes for the former Ravens’ performer. “I’m excited,” explained Jernigan to Ed Kracz of the Burlington County Times late last week.

“He told me it’s going to be a big year for me. He has plans for me. We’ll see, man. I never played in a system like this, where they really want you to attack all the time..."

That’s because the 2014 second-round pick by the Ravens in 2014 has played his entire pro career in a base 3-4 defense in Baltimore. The job of the three-man defensive front was basically geared towards keeping the linebacking corps clean to attack and rush the passer. In Philadelphia, Jernigan will be more of an up-the-field presence. And teaming with Pro Bowler Fletcher Fox is a positive for all involved. Look for the Eagles defense to continue its recent improvement. And if quarterback Carson Wentz can continue to make progress, this will be a team to keep an eye on this fall.

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