Eagles: Josh Sweat is starting to live up to his star potential

When Josh Sweat signed a three-year, $40 million contract extension at the beginning of the 2021 season, it was seen as a pretty solid move by Howie Roseman. It was pretty clear at the time that Sweat had yet to reach his ceiling, and that perhaps in a year or two, that $13.33 million figure would look like a bargain.

Fast forward to the final week of the season, and it’s becoming abundantly clear that Sweat is a superstar in the making. After only recording four sacks through the first 12 weeks of the season, Sweat has tallied four sacks over the last four games, bringing his season total to 7.5.

Along with his 7.5 sacks, Sweat has accumulated 31 hurries, six quarterback hits, and 46 total pressures on the year. He’s been by far the best edge defender for the Eagles this season. Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan, and Tarron Jackson have combined for just three sacks.

The loss of Brandon Graham at the beginning of the year could have been detrimental for this Eagles team. While his loss is still felt in certain aspects of the game, Sweat has managed to pick up the pass rushing slack left behind by Graham’s absence. Not to mention, he’s an above average run defender, which is hard to find from top tier edge players.

This brief film breakdown of Sweat against Washington from Fran Duffy showcases just how impactful Sweat has been over the past month and a half.

Per Pro Football Focus, Sweat is the 22nd-best defensive end in the league, posting an overall defensive grade of 77.2. He’s the second-highest graded player on the Eagles defense, trailing only Darius Slay. And he’s one of five Eagles defenders that rank inside the top-25 at their respective positions.

The Eagles defensive line as a unit has underperformed this season, mostly due to the aforementioned loss of BG. The defensive front has accounted for 25.5 sacks this year — Sweat accounts for nearly 30% of the line’s pass rushing production.

Defensive end is still a need for this team moving forward because of the small amount of depth behind Sweat. But at just 24 years old, Sweat is already playing at a stellar level. He’s not quite in the elite class of edge rushers in the NFL, but it’s undeniable that the potential to reach that level is there. And his recent emergence as a consistent pass rusher has been a huge factor in the Eagles reaching the postseason.

If continues on his current trajectory, Sweat could be a household name by this name next year.

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