The Philadelphia Eagles have decided to invest in the defensive line in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, taking advantage of a subpar draft for defensive tackles. Philadelphia had the No. 189 and No. 191 picks to start the sixth round, taking USC defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu (No. 189) and Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson (No. 191). They used the No. 224 pick on LSU safety JaCoby Stevens -- who Philadelphia lists as a linebacker.
Tuipulotu had 104 tackles, including 15 for losses (with 8.5 sacks), plus three deflections and two forced fumbles in his career for the Trojans. The All-Pac-12 selection played nose tackle at USC and is the second defensive tackle Philadelphia selected in this draft, joining third-rounder Milton Williams. Tuipulotu joins a defensive tackle group that includes Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Hassan Ridgeway -- along with Williams. He'll compete for a roster spot at a position that badly needed depth heading into the draft.
Jackson adds depth to a defensive end rotation that includes Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, and Joe Ostman. Genard Avery is switching to linebacker, so there's an opportunity for Jackson to compete for snaps in his rookie year. Jackson set Coastal Carolina's single-season sack record with 10 in 2019 and is the Chanticleers' all-time career leader in sacks (26.5), yards lost from sacks (176), tackles for loss (43), yards lost from tackles for loss (214), and quarterback hurries (32).
Stevens figured to be a box safety in the league, but the Eagles are listing him as a linebacker. He has 14 missed tackles over the past two seasons and tied for third in the FBS with three fumble recoveries. He wore the famous No. 7 at LSU, given to the the "undisputed leader of the Tigers, a leader on the field, in the locker room and in the community."
The Eagles also moved two of their seventh-round picks in this year's draft, trading the No. 225 and No. 240 picks to Washington in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick. Philadelphia currently has 10 picks in the 2022 draft.