Philadelphia Eagles: Javon Hargrave has a ton to gain in 2022

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The Jordan Davis hype train is here, and fans of the Philadelphia Eagles are here for it.

The big fella has reportedly looked fantastic in training camp, has sold a ton of jerseys, and has become viewed as such a cornerstone player that many a fan, writer, and even some former players have started to wonder if a 3-4 base front could be in the team’s future.

Now granted, worrying about whether or not a team runs an even or an odd front in 2022 is relatively small potatoes; teams only play in their base defenses 30ish percent of the time, and it’s hard to imagine that number getting bigger than smaller in the immediate future. Still, having a 340-pound mountain of a man with a 4.78 40 time and legs as big as tree trunks is enough to generate such conversations, as few teams have a legitimate answer for his on-field talents.

And yet, Davis isn’t the only defensive tackle on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster who has something to prove this fall. No, with his contract about to expire and his first-ever Pro Bowl appearance on his resume, Javon Hargrave has a perfect opportunity to parlay another strong season into another massive payday.

Don’t overlook Javon Hargrave just yet, Philadelphia Eagles fans.

In 2021, Javon Hargrave was fantastic; he recorded the most tackles of his career at 63, the most sacks of his career at 7.5, and arguably had the biggest impact of his career, no offense to his run in Pittsburgh from 2016-19 or under Jim Schwartz in 2020. He held up fine against the run, was exceptional on passing downs, and might have just been the Eagles’ best defensive lineman, which, considering the strength of the team’s defensive line, is pretty high praise.

Why, you may ask, is this relevant to this particular conversation? Well, because the Eagles didn’t sign Hargrave to play in Jonathan Gannon’s defense.

That’s right, as more than a few folks unfortunately come to learn every year when their team switches schemes, or even just changes coordinators, a former stalwart could rapidly become a player without a position, or worse, see their role eliminated in favor of a more schematically relevant replacement.  Fletcher Cox expressed concern over his role under Gannon, and Alex Singleton went from one of the team’s more promising linebacking prospects to a member of the Denver Broncos in a little over a year.

Hargrave, fortunately, saw his trajectory go the other way. After mildly underwhelming versus expectations during his maiden voyage in midnight green, the pride of the University of South Carolina rapidly transformed himself into one of the team’s top performers and played a big part in the Eagles’ defensive dominance in 2021.

Though his exact role in Gannon’s D may change ever so slightly, with Davis now the defacto nose tackle of the defensive line, Hargrave may actually benefit from playing next to an even bigger tackle with the gravitational force of a small planet, as it should give him more one-on-one opportunities and may even allow him to play further off the shoulder of an opposing team’s center; which is good news, because another big season for Hargrave should get him paid in a huge way either in Philadelphia or elsewhere.

Jordan Davis is already making a big first impression. dark. Next

At 29, Javon Hargrove is fully in his prime. He’ll be 35 when Jordan Davis is ready to play on his next contact, and at that point, he will be far from the same player he is today, if he’s in the NFL at all. Still, if the Philadelphia Eagles can get three or so more exceptionally high-level seasons out of the former third round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they should do everything in their power to make that happen, as every defense, whether they run a 4-3 or a 3-4, needs at least two high-end defensive tackles to be successful.