Eagles analysis

Don't forget about Sweat; Eagles most important list continues

Sometimes overlooked, Josh Sweat takes a top 10 spot on list of most important Eagles in 2023

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Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2023 season.

25. Nolan Smith
24. Quez Watkins
23. Kenny Gainwell
22. Marcus Mariota
21. Reed Blankenship
20. Brandon Graham
19. D'Andre Swift
18. Avonte Maddox
17. Cam Jurgens
16. Fletcher Cox
15. Landon Dickerson
14. Jordan Davis
13. Nakobe Dean
12. Jalen Carter
11. James Bradberry
10. Jordan Mailata
9. Josh Sweat

Josh Sweat is entering Year 6 in the NFL and each year his stats continue to get better:

2018: 9 games, 0 sacks, 1 tackle, 0 TFL, 1 QB hit
2019: 16 games, 4 sacks, 21 tackles, 7 TFLs, 10 QB hits
2020: 14 games, 3 starts, 6 sacks, 38 tackles, 9 TFLs, 12 QB hits
2021: 16 games, 13 starts, 7.5 sacks, 45 tackles, 7 TFLs, 13 QB hits
2022: 16 games, 16 starts, 11 sacks, 48 tackles, 15 TFLs, 23 QB hits

Sweat entered the NFL as a raw fourth-round pick with plenty to learn. But he has gotten better every season he’s been in the NFL.

Can he do it again?

We’ll find out pretty soon. Sweat was one of four Eagles to notch double digit sacks last season, along with Haason Reddick, Javon Hargrave and Brandon Graham. The Eagles led the NFL with an incredible 70 sacks.

During the 2022 season, Sweat was often overlooked because of the success we saw from Reddick. Reddick finished the year with 16 sacks and finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

But don’t lose sight of what Sweat was able to accomplish. And it wasn’t just sacks either. Think about Sweat’s incredible 42-yard interception return touchdown in Dallas on Christmas Eve. Sure, the Eagles lost that game but it was the kind of athletic play you just almost never see from an edge rusher.

It’s also worth nothing that a vast majority of Sweat’s snaps come from the right side of the defensive line. While the difference between left and right tackles in the modern NFL isn’t nearly as pronounced as it was a decade ago, it’s probably still fair to say most teams have a better left tackle than right. And those are the guys Sweat has to face on a week-to-week basis.

Believe it or not, Sweat actually got off to a slow start in 2022. He had just 2 1/2 sacks through the first eight games of the season. Over his next eight, Sweat had 8 1/2. From Week 10 on, there were just three players in the NFL with more sacks than Sweat: Reddick (10.5), Nick Bosa (10) and Chris Jones (10).

What’s the next step in Sweat’s game?

“I don’t know,” Sweat said this spring after a signature laugh. “I mean, I’m trying to get better. Just refine my technique. Just keep doing the things that have worked. Just building on it and doing it more.”

Back when the Eagles drafted Sweat, there was still some concern about a major knee injury that dated back to high school. But he’s entering Year 6 and has carved out quite a career for himself.

Sweat signed a three-year extension during the 2021 season, the final of his rookie deal, which means he’s under contract through the 2024 season. His deal was a three-year extension worth $40 million and his $13.3 million APY ranks 20th in the NFL among edge rushers. 

If he keeps getting better every year, he’ll really break the bank when he nears free agency.

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