3 Eagles Who Must Be Benched Before the Playoffs

Which Philadelphia Eagles players need to ride the pine with the playoffs approaching?

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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3. Derek Barnett, EDGE

It might be time for the Philadelphia Eagles to fix their eyes firmly on the present and future off the edge. Derek Barnett has played such a major role for this team through the years, but the former first-round pick out of Tennessee might need to be benched for Nolan Smith.

Nolan Smith, the rookie out of Georgia, has played more special teams this season than he has played defensively, but the time has got to be coming where we see him on the field in situations where we might otherwise see Derek Barnett.

Barnett was a healthy scratch on Monday night against the Chiefs and was ruled out due to "personal" reasons.

It wouldn't surprise me, in the least, to see the Eagles really start to ramp up Smith's snaps as the postseason draws near, especially considering how important it could be for him to be catching fire when the postseason begins. The Eagles already have some incredible pass rushers eating up the lion's share of snaps in Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick, but a third player off the edge like Nolan Smith emerging could make this team deadly for a playoff run.

Veteran Brandon Graham has just five QB hits so far this season, and while the Eagles get some great pass rush production out of their interior players, they really need Smith, the first-rounder out of Georgia, to come through over the final seven games of the regular season.

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