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7 Eagles included in PFF’s top 101 players from the last decade

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NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus recently revealed a special list of the top 101 NFL players from the last decade and seven Philadelphia Eagles made the cut. Let’s take a closer look.

79. Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson’s pass protection has been impressive throughout his career — there are games where he has shut down Von Miller — but where he really distances himself from his peers is when it comes to run-blocking. In this area, Johnson was by far the best right tackle of the decade, and only recently retired Joe Staley boasts a better grade among all tackles. Johnson has also had to navigate injuries and suspension, missing at least one game in all but two of his NFL seasons. When he is on the field, though, Johnson has been a dominant force for the Eagles.

Johnson finished as the ninth best tackle on PFF’s list. He’s a Hall of Fame caliber talent who doesn’t get the same recognition he’d likely get if he played left tackle instead of right, which is dumb. Johnson, who turned 30 last week, is signed through 2025 and should have a number of high quality seasons left in him.

Poll

Is Lane Johnson’s ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Too high
    (83 votes)
  • 68%
    Too low
    (1367 votes)
  • 27%
    Just right
    (558 votes)
2008 votes total Vote Now

70. Brandon Brooks

Brandon Brooks has been one of the best and most underrated offensive linemen in the NFL since he entered the league. Last season, he won PFF’s Matthews Award given to the best offensive lineman in the league, and that marked the fifth season in which he has earned a PFF grade that ranked in the top-10 at his position. Brooks has been a powerful run-blocker throughout his career, but his pass protection has been staggeringly consistent. Only once has he surrendered more than one sack in a season, and he has been beaten for a sack just seven times in eight years.

Brooks finished as the fifth best guard on PFF’s list. He was an excellent free agent signing by Howie Roseman back in 2016. It’s really impressive how he was able to play at such a high level last year despite coming off an Achilles injury. This year the Eagles are counting on Brooks to rebound from the separated shoulder injury he suffered in Week 17. It’s hard to bet against him. Brooks, 30, is signed through 2024. I maintain he’d get more credit if he wasn’t a third-round pick out of Miami (OH).

Poll

Is Brandon Brooks’ ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Too high
    (101 votes)
  • 56%
    Too low
    (1071 votes)
  • 38%
    Just right
    (719 votes)
1891 votes total Vote Now

52. Jason Kelce

Jason Kelce was a sixth-round draft pick back in 2011, and though he played 1,000-plus snaps in his rookie year, he didn’t look likely to develop into the kind of dominant force he has since become. From that point onward, however, he cemented himself as one of the game’s best linemen and the standout run-blocking center in football over the past decade. Kelce’s speed and athleticism for the position have enabled him to make blocks that many centers just don’t have the skill set to execute. And while he can occasionally be overwhelmed by size and strength — particularly as a pass-protector — his down-to-down efficiency has been phenomenal.

Kelce finished as the fourth best center on PFF’s list. He should probably be even higher. Kelce deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Super Bowl champion, three-time first-team All Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection, fun and memorable personality. Kelce could further boost his resume with another great effort this year. The Eagles have been lucky to have him. 2020 could conceivably be his last season considering he turns 33 in November and he’s previously weighed retirement. Kelce has no guaranteed salary in his contract beyond this season.

Poll

Is Jason Kelce’s ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Too high
    (57 votes)
  • 63%
    Too low
    (1197 votes)
  • 33%
    Just right
    (645 votes)
1899 votes total Vote Now

45. Fletcher Cox

It took him a few seasons to discover his best play, but since 2015, he has been the best interior defensive lineman in football not named Aaron Donald. Cox is the best power pass-rusher in football, with strength even dominant offensive linemen just can’t match up with. Since that 2015 season, he is second only to Donald in total pressures as a pass-rusher. His 2018 season is one of the best single-seasons we have ever seen from an interior rusher — it was just barely noticed because Donald had an even better one.

Cox finished as the fourth best interior defender on PFF’s list. Cox is coming off the second lowest sack total of his career but he could be poised to rebound since he’s not spending an entire offseason recovering from injury like he was last year. Another strong season from Cox will only further cement his legacy as a truly great player. The 29-year-old is signed through 2022.

Poll

Is Fletcher Cox’s ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Too high
    (94 votes)
  • 64%
    Too low
    (1222 votes)
  • 30%
    Just right
    (573 votes)
1889 votes total Vote Now

42. Brandon Graham

Perennially underrated because he doesn’t generate the same sack totals as some of the other pass-rushers in football, Brandon Graham has nevertheless pressured the quarterback like few other players over the past decade. He owns two of the top three pass-rush win rates of the decade, and only two edge rushers have a higher pressure rate over the past 10 years. Graham has always been the poster child for pressure mattering in and of itself, even if it comes with a lower rate of sacks than other players, and the Philadelphia Eagles have been a far better team for embracing that dynamic.

Graham finished as the fifth best edge rusher on PFF’s list. While many will disagree he should be ranked so highly, it’s not new to see PFF is higher on Graham than most. I love BLG is a pretty good player and I love him to death — he’s responsible for the single most important play in Eagles history (pictured above this post) — so I don’t want to be the one who argues he’s not in an elite tier. But I can’t stop others from objectively making that case. The 32-year-old Graham is signed through 2021.

Poll

Is Brandon Graham’s ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Too high
    (905 votes)
  • 10%
    Too low
    (205 votes)
  • 40%
    Just right
    (760 votes)
1870 votes total Vote Now

19. Jason Peters

Joe Thomas is a Hall of Fame tackle and one of the best players to ever suit up at the position, and it speaks to how good Jason Peters has been in his career that he has been right there with him for pretty much the entirety of the decade. Peters had three straight seasons with an overall PFF grade above 90.0 earlier in the decade and a top-10 pressure rate surrendered over that time (4.7%). Like Whitworth, Peters has also performed well deep into his 30s, though the age appears to have taken a toll on his durability more than it has for Whitworth, with Peters missing time in each of the last few seasons.

Peters finished as the second best tackle on PFF’s list. The 38-year-old is a lock to be a Hall of Famer as a Super Bowl champion with nine Pro Bowls and two first-team All Pro honors under his belt. With Peters potentially planning to play into his 40s, he could theoretically add to those counts. It remains to be seen if JP will be playing for the Eagles or not in 2020. What is clear is that he’s been a truly awesome player and no other player will ever be wearing the No. 71 jersey for Philly.

Poll

Is Jason Peters’ ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Too high
    (165 votes)
  • 24%
    Too low
    (438 votes)
  • 66%
    Just right
    (1215 votes)
1818 votes total Vote Now

14. Evan Mathis

Everybody wants to see Quenton Nelson-style crushing blocks on the offensive line, but the majority of plays are much more subtle wins and losses than that. Are you moving your man out of the intended point of attack, or are you allowing him to stand you up, squeeze or block it in some way? Evan Mathis won those little battles at a greater rate than any offensive linemen we’ve seen and just rarely lost. His highlight reel may have been less impressive than others, but the little plays added up to something truly impressive. Mathis had six consecutive seasons with a PFF grade above 90.0 and owns five of the six highest grades we gave to guards over the decade.

Mathis finished as the top guard on PFF’s list. Mathis, not unlike Graham, has always been a PFF favorite. Mathis made the Pro Bowl twice and earned first-team All-Pro honors with the Eagles before winning a Super Bowl as a starter for the Denver Broncos in 2015. He retired in 2017.

Poll

Is Evan Mathis’ ranking too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Too high
    (1497 votes)
  • 3%
    Too low
    (65 votes)
  • 21%
    Just right
    (419 votes)
1981 votes total Vote Now

Did you notice that all seven players on this list are linemen? For as much as the Eagles have failed to get some positions right during Roseman’s tenure, they’ve always done well in the trenches.