Eagles Insider

Will Cox or Kelce be Hall of Famers?

Eagles Insider

For a franchise that’s been around for nearly 90 years, the Eagles haven’t had many Hall of Famers.

Until Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael were voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame recently, there were only five players inducted in Canton, Ohio, who spent more than half their career with the Eagles: Chuck Bednarik, Reggie White, Pete Pihos, Tommy McDonald and Steve Van Buren.

There are several others who’ve played a chunk of their career here — Bob Brown, Jim Ringo, Claude Humphrey, among others.

But as far as true Eagles? Dawk, Harold and Reggie are the only players who spent more than three years with the Eagles in the last 50 years who are in the Hall of Fame.

That could change dramatically in the next decade or so.

Eric Allen is a semifinalist for the Hall’s Class of 2021, Jason Peters will be eligible five years after he stops playing, and Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce both added to their Hall of Fame credentials Monday when they were named to the Pro Bowl.

What do Kelce's and Cox’s Hall of Fame chances look like? Let’s take a look!

Fletcher Cox

Cox this year made his sixth straight Pro Bowl, also his sixth overall. 

For defensive tackles, six Pro Bowls generally isn’t enough. Only one of the seven defensive tackles to make exactly six Pro Bowls is in the Hall of Fame, and that’s Curly Culp, who was a senior committee selection. 

 

A few have made the Hall of Fame with fewer Pro Bowls, but they all had multiple All-Pro selections, and Cox has only made first-team All-Pro once, in 2018.  

However, once you hit seven Pro Bowls as a DT, you’re a lock. All 12 eligible defensive tackles with seven or more Pro Bowls are now in the Hall of Fame.

Cox just turned 30 and although he may not be playing at quite the level he did a few years ago, he’s at the point in his career where he’s so respected he’s probably going to continue clicking off Pro Bowls (along with Aaron Donald), as long as he’s healthy and performing at a good level. 

Cox has 6½ sacks this year with two games left — fourth most among all NFL interior linemen — and is up to 54½ in his nine seasons. He made the team of the decade for the 2010s, which the Hall of Fame voters seem to value heavily.

An interesting comparison for Cox is La’Roi Glover, who has the same Pro Bowl and All-Pro numbers as Cox — six and one — and recorded 83½ sacks in his 13-year career, including an NFL-high 17 in 2000. He’s never even been a semifinalist. Maybe because he was rarely on good teams and was a fifth-round pick, which shouldn’t matter but it does.

Cox was a first-round pick and starred on a Super Bowl team, and the voters also value that. Nearly 70 percent of Hall of Famers won at least one Super Bowl or NFL Championship.

Considering that Cox likely has several very good years left, I think he’s close to a lock. If he notches Pro Bowl No. 7 a year from now, he’s in.

Jason Kelce

Kelce has a very different résumé than Cox. Fewer Pro Bowls but more All-Pros.

He’s now made four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams — remember, this year’s All-Pro team hasn’t been announced yet — and is the only position player since 1970 with two seasons in which he made first-team All-Pro and didn’t make the Pro Bowl. Which shows how ridiculous the Pro Bowl voting can be.

This is tough. There have been only nine modern-era (since 1950) centers inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

But every center who’s been a first-team All-Pro three times is already in Canton. Every one.

Kelce was snubbed on the team of the decade, and the thing about Kelce is he should have more Pro Bowls on his résumé. As is often the case with late-round picks — and he was a sixth-round pick in 2011 — it took the league longer than it should have to notice him. He didn’t make his first Pro Bowl team until his fourth season and didn’t make All-Pro until he was 30. And he’s still one of the most decorated centers in history.

Kelce’s role on the Super Bowl team in 2017 definitely helps, as does the fact that he’s a favorite of national sports writers, who are the voters. That shouldn’t matter, but it does. 

 

Kelce can help his case even more if he makes another All-Pro team next month and if he continues to play, he should continue to add Pro Bowls as long as he stays healthy and performs at his usual level.

Kelce turned 33 last month and nobody knows how much longer he will play, but four Pro Bowls, three All-Pros and a Super Bowl ring are a pretty compelling case for Canton. I think he gets in as well.

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