Over the last four weeks we have been counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20. Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz
6. DeSean Jackson
5. Lane Johnson
4. Darius Slay
3. Jason Kelce
2. Fletcher Cox
When you turn on your TV this season, remember you might be watching a Hall of Fame defensive tackle playing his prime for the Eagles.
That’s how good Fletcher Cox has been.
While he was overshadowed early in his career by some other really good defensive tackles and he’s even overshadowed right now by Aaron Donald out in Los Angeles, Cox has consistently been one of the most dominating defensive linemen in the league for the last half decade.
Cox, 29, has been to five straight Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 2018.
Just six players in Eagles history have been selected to more Pro Bowls and his five in a row is the third-longest streak in team history. Cox was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2010s earlier this offseason.
While he had a bit of a down season in 2019, he was coming off an offseason ankle surgery and wasn’t himself early on. But he got better as the year went on and by the end of the season, he had upped his play time and barely left the field for some must-win games in December.
According to ProFootballFocus, Cox was the 5th best DT in the NFL last season, but has been a top five guy for the last three seasons, reaching No. 2 in 2018.
The difference this season for Cox will be the talent lining up next to him. Because while Cox played every game last season, that other defensive tackle position saw injury after injury to Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway. Cox was playing next to guys the Eagles signed mid-season.
In 2020, Cox will play next to No. 11 on our countdown, free agent pickup Javon Hargrave. Having a premier interior rusher next to him will certainly open things up for Cox. He might not get double-teamed every play. There will be times where the offense will have to account for Hargrave more than they would for guys like Anthony Rush or Albert Huggins last season. That means Cox has a chance to do even more damage and he and Hargrave have the potential to be the best 1-2 punch at DT in the NFL.
A couple years ago, Cox said it was his goal to become the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and he still hasn’t been able to do that. The big problem for Cox is that his sack total is never shocking. The highest total in his career was 10 1/2 in 2018.
But Cox is the ultimate disruptor. He is second in the NFL among interior rushers in the last two years with 102 QB hurries, behind just Donald.
Simply put: Cox is the Eagles’ best player and they need him to play like that again in 2020.
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