Eagles add more depth to defensive line with Willie Henry

Throughout the offseason, Howie Roseman has continued to add depth to his defensive front. Despite being one of the best units in football last season, Howie hasn’t shied away from adding even more playmakers up front.

After bringing in Pro Bowl pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan about a week ago, the Eagles continued to bolster their defensive line depth by signing Willie Henry on Wednesday.

The former 2016 fourth round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, Henry has had an up-and-down NFL career thus far.

Due to injury, he missed his entire rookie season, but he came back strong in 2017. In 597 defensive snaps, Henry totaled 3.5 sacks, 33 combined tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, along with 5 pass breakups. Injuries caught back up with Henry the following year, as he only suited up for three games, and he was subsequently cut by Baltimore the following year.

Henry was signed to the 49ers practice squad last season, but he only appeared in one game.

Given how deep the Eagles are at defensive tackle (Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Hassan Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill, and Marlon Tuipulotu), Henry will have an uphill battle to make the roster this year. But with his versatility, he could carve out a role for himself. Standing at 6’3”, 293 pounds, Henry has the ability to play along the interior as well as on the edge.

Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has hinted that he may employ multiple fronts along his defensive line, and the moves made by the front office this offseason would suggest that as well. Kerrigan has played as a pass rushing linebacker for the majority of his career, Milton Williams has the ability to play inside and outside, and seventh round pick Patrick Johnson is primarily a pass rushing linebacker.

To make room for Henry, the team waived linebacker Joe Bachie. The Eagles still have suitable depth at linebacker despite Bachie’s departure. Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, and T.J. Edwards are the backers who will likely see the most playing time. Behind them, the Birds have Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor, Patrick Johnson, and JaCoby Stevens.

An already deep, talented defensive line just got even deeper. And if Henry can stay healthy and recapture his 2017 form, he could be a diamond in the rough for the Eagles.

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