Three Eagles players who can make a splash in the NFL this year
The NFL Top 100 list is just another form of disrespect that the Eagles will use as motivation to repeat as Super Bowl champions. This year, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Zach Ertz, and Carson Wentz all made the list this year, however, some of their ranks are questionable. The example I continuously come back to is OBJ and Jimmy Garoppolo. There is no way that based on this season, which is what the list is SUPPOSED to be, guys who played five or fewer games should be ranked higher than Jenkins or Johnson. It just doesn’t make sense. However, there are three Eagles players who could make some noise this year, and earn the attention of their NFL peers for 2019’s list.
Jason “hungry dogs run faster” Kelce
The first of the three Eagles players is Kelce. Kelce had a phenomenal 2017 season. He started all 16 games for the Eagles, only notching five penalties for 34 yards. He also only allowed two sacks during the year facing defensive lines of the Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, Seahawks, Panthers, and Rams. Pro Football Focus talks about Kelce as being at “Top five” center. His projected 2018 grade is a 91.8. Zack Martin of the Cowboys is the only veteran projected higher. Martin made the list this year at #71.
The Eagles had the top offensive line in the NFL last year. The entire line is returning this year, and getting Jason Peters back as well. The line as a whole will continue performing at a high level, allowing Kelce to have another dominant year.
The former first-round pick
Nelson Agholor was the comeback kid of 2017 for the Birds. After an injury-plagued rookie season, Agholor became one of the most groan-worthy athletes in Philadelphia in 2016. After a sensational career at USC, and two years in the NFL, he appeared to be a first-round bust. There was no ball he could catch and no mistake he wouldn’t make. Needless to say, the Philadelphia fans were not happy about it. The drops were bad, but the mental toll it took on him was worse.
With the free agent signing of Alshon Jeffery, Agholor changed from the number 17 to 13. With a new number, came a new player. He worked out his struggles and scored the first touchdown of the 2017 season. He tallied more yards than his first two seasons combined (768) and added eight touchdowns as well. Also, Agholor recorded zero fumbles this season as well.
Not only is he a threat in the passing game, he is also a threat in the trick plays because of his speed. His end-around play in the second quarter of the Divisional Round game set up the Birds first touchdown of the game. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, Agholor has built good chemistry with both options. Whether it is Nick Foles or Wentz under center, Nelly has a good year to build on, that will continue to turn heads.
The guy who recovered the fumble
Derek Barnett was a guy some Eagles fans weren’t too high on back on draft night of 2017. There was a consensus that there were better players on the board and the Eagles made the wrong call. Those fans ate their words during last season. Barnett recorded 21 combined tackles and five sacks. Four of those sacks came against divisional opponents in Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott. Barnett also had a forced fumble, a fumble returned for a touchdown, and most importantly recovered Tom Brady’s fumble in the Super Bowl.
Barnett is part of a lethal defensive line also including a rotation of Cox, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Tim Jernigan. As the defense continues to dominate, Barnett will only improve, gathering the attention of the rest of the NFL.
Will they make it?
These three Eagles players are crucial to the Eagles team and were crucial in the Super Bowl win. If they continue to build on the strong 2017s they had, there is no reason they shouldn’t be voted on to the list.
Stats from Washington Post and NFL.com
Featured Image: Keith Allison via Flickr
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