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Eagles add speed by signing Tapp

The Philadelphia Eagles sent a fourth-round draft pick and Chris Clemons to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Darryl Tapp, whom they then promptly signed to a three-year extension.

Tapp is an undersized defensive end who plays stronger than his size would indicate. He is at his best when attacking upfield. He is very fast, gets off the ball well and plays with a tremendous motor. Tapp will track down running plays from behind and has the get-off and acceleration to beat offensive tackles off the snap while staying low to the ground and maintaining excellent leverage.

Trent Cole is a terrific football player who stands to gain quite a bit with Tapp’s arrival. Defensive end was a big need before this acquisition and even though Tapp is a quality player, surely the Eagles will address the position in the draft. But as it stands now, I would assume that Tapp will line up on the edge opposite Cole on passing downs. He is the type of counterpart who can thrive if the Eagles’ opponent consistently rolls protection in Cole’s direction -- which has become common practice against the Eagles. Heavier right tackles could struggle with Tapp one-on-one.

But ideally, Tapp isn’t an every-down player. The Eagles would be wise to keep him fresh and allow him to best use his speed and motor by not forcing him to play too many snaps. If used in rotation with other Philadelphia ends, including Juqua Parker, who isn’t as dynamic and doesn’t have as much pass-rushing upside as Tapp, the combination can be effective.

Tapp is no slouch against the run though; he holds his ground well with a low center of gravity and good hand play. He is now the Eagles’ second-best defensive end. Tapp still can improve his all-around game, particularly if he’s used properly and can avoid some nagging injuries that have given him trouble since joining the league. He is an aggressive player though who fits this aggressive attacking defensive scheme. Adding yet another playmaker at defensive end should remain a priority on draft weekend, but all in all, this is a good investment by the Eagles.