The Eagles have reached their bye week with a 4-4 record, which is disappointing, but they got there with a big win over the Jaguars in London.
This season hasn’t exactly gone to plan after winning the Super Bowl in February, but not everything goes the way we expect.
With that said, here are five Eagles I have classified as “pleasant surprises” through eight games:
(Obviously there have been a few disappointments as well. You can find those here.)
The fifth-round pick out of West Virginia in 2016 wasn’t even supposed to make the roster this season. When he did, it was as their fourth-string running back. But injuries have decimated the Eagles’ running back room and Smallwood is the only one who has stayed healthy. That’s somewhat ironic because injuries had plagued his first two years in the league. Through eight games, Smallwood is leading the Eagles in rushing, with 60 carries for 257 yards and a score. He also has 15 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
He didn’t even begin the season as the starter, but has emerged as an important part of the Eagles’ offensive line. Starting with the Vikings game, Seumalo has taken over at left guard for Stefen Wisniewksi and after a slow start, has been playing pretty well in recent weeks. His versatility is proving important too. With both offensive tackles dealing with injuries, Seumalo has played right tackle in a pinch too and has done it well.
The rookie from Pittsburgh began the season as a role player and didn’t even get a single defensive snap through three weeks, but now he looks like the savior of the defense. Rodney McLeod is out for the season and after Corey Graham struggled to replace him, Maddox has become a starting safety and has been really impressive. Remember, Maddox played outside corner in college and has already learned slot corner and safety in the NFL. He might be too small to be a long-term safety, but it might be time to start thinking about it.
I expected Ertz to be good; not this good. The guy is on pace for 122 catches for 1,288 yards and six touchdowns. That’s insane. That season has only happened eight times in the history of the NFL. Now, I can’t expect him to keep that pace the rest of the way, but that’s OK. He’s probably going to put up his first 1,000-yard season and has made a real argument as the NFL’s top tight end.
Before getting hurt last season, Wentz was the MVP of the league. So I’m not surprised he’s playing at this level, I’m surprised he’s doing it so soon after returning from ACL and LCL surgery. He’s already so far beyond where I expected him to be from a mobility standpoint. The most amazing thing about Wentz this season is that he wanted to improve his accuracy and he has. He's up to over 70.7 percent this season after he was completing just over 60 percent last year. He’s improved 10 percentage points so far!
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