In a recent article published by PFF, active players who are locks for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are listed for each team. For our Philadelphia Eagles, only Jason Peters is listed as a Hall of Famer if he was to retire today. Here is what they had to say about Peters and his case for the HOF.
Since 2006, 111 offensive tackles have played at least 3,000 offensive snaps, and among those players, Peters ranks third overall in PFF grade. He has been one of the top tackles in the league for the entirety of the PFF era which spans 13 seasons, always a steady presence on the Eagles’ offensive line. Last season was the first of Peters’ career grading below 70.0 — he received an overall grade of 69.5 — but the fact that he was able to play at such a high level for so long is an impressive feat.
At the not-so-ripe age of 37, it’s hard to put into words just how impressive it is that Peters is still playing at a high level. While he is projected to start the 2019 season at left tackle yet again, it’s only a matter of time until the metaphorical baton is passed to 2019 first round draftee Andre Dillard.
Peters has been in the NFL since 2004 when he was signed as a UDFA by the Buffalo Bills as a tight end. He was ultimately traded to the Eagles in 2009 for three draft picks, and the rest is history. Many Eagles fans consider Peters to be a surefire Hall-of-Famer, but it’s nice to see a national outlet agreeing with such a sentiment.
In addition to listing Peters under the “if they retire now” section, PFF also lists Fletcher Cox as being “on pace” to becoming a Hall-of-Famer.
He came in as the fourth-best player in the entire NFL in the recently concluded PFF50 and deservedly so after racking up 101 quarterback pressures in the regular season and postseason combined. Cox has recorded 90.0-plus overall grades in three of the past four seasons, and he’s only improving, notching a career-high 92.5 overall grade last season. When you’re dominant enough to be considered one of the top five players in the league, you’re doing something right. Fletcher Cox is doing something right and has been for the past several years.
Per Pro-Football-Reference.com, among players drafted in 1982 or later (when sacks begin being tracked), just nine defensive linemen have been inducted into the hall of fame. These players all played in 167 or more games and averaged 0.35-0.72 sacks per game and made 2.9-4.4 tackles per game. For reference, among active defensive lineman, just Terrell Suggs and Calais Campbell fall within those three criteria (and both of which are listed in this PFF article). Cox, who has played in 109 career games, has recorded 44.5 sacks (0.41 sacks per game) and 330 total tackles (3.0 tackles per game). These numbers fall within the ranges above, which is an indication that PFF is correct about Cox being on a HOF trajectory.
In the final section of this article, PFF lists both Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham as players that are “considered but not HOF-worthy as of now”.
Kelce has been tremendous over his career and has come on strong lately, but there are a couple of centers that have beat him out in both overall grade and wins above replacement since he entered the league in 2011, which makes it tough to say he’s Hall of Fame-worthy at this point in his career.
Graham might be a bit of a surprise to be under consideration given his low sack numbers, but a lot of people don’t realize just how disruptive he has been. Since 2010, Graham ranks third in overall grade among qualifying edge defenders behind only Miller and Mack. He falls inside the top five edge defenders in both pass-rush win rate and total pressure rate.
I find it hard to argue with either of these statements. Even with how great Kelce is, since the NFL merger (1970), just 9 centers have been elected into the hall, and it’s hard to imagine Kelce will make the cut. This equates to, on average, about 2 centers every 10 years, and I’m not ready to call him a top 2 center since 2010.
In comparison to Cox and the other defensive lineman listed above, Graham, who has played in 127 career games, has notched 42.5 sacks (0.33 sacks per game) and 320 total tackles (2.5 tackles per game). Both of these values are borderline HOF worthy, but seemingly not quite enough. If Graham can close out his career in monster fashion, maybe he could elevate his chances of making it to the HOF, but as of today, it does not seem likely.
What active Eagles players do you think have a shot to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?