Eagles

Ranking Eagles who deserve Pro Bowl consideration in 2021

Eagles

The Eagles reached their bye week with a 6-7 record, which has them alive in the playoff mix but doesn’t exactly bode well for having a bunch of Pro Bowlers.

Last year, the Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record but still had three players get a Pro Bowl nod: Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce.

So even though this season hasn’t gone well, it’s going better than last season. And there are several Eagles who definitely deserve Pro Bowl attention. Fans can vote for Pro Bowlers through Dec. 16, but fan vote is just 1/3 of the overall vote. Players and coaches’ votes each count too.

Here’s how I rank eight Eagles who deserve Pro Bowl consideration in 2021:

1. Darius Slay

Forget Pro Bowl, Slay is playing at an All-Pro level. Make no mistake, Slay was good in his first year with the Eagles in 2020 but he’s been playing at a much higher level in 2021 and he’s been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

And this year, he’s living up to his Big Play Slay nickname. He has three interceptions and three total touchdowns this year. He entered this season with one touchdown in eight NFL seasons. He has three since Halloween.

Even aside from the touchdowns, Slay is locking down opposing receivers. In his last four games, Slay has been targeted 13 times. He’s given up just 5 catches for 45 yards, according to ProFootballFocus.

And in the season, he’s given up just 36 catches on 59 targets for 318 yards. He’s been a lockdown guy this year.

 

2. Jason Kelce

It’s amazing to see Kelce still playing at such a high level after his 34th birthday, but he really is. And as good as Slay has been this year, I’d argue Kelce is the one player the Eagles could least afford to lose.

If Kelce makes the Pro Bowl this season, it would be his fifth time overall and his third in a row. He’s absolutely deserving.

Last week, I asked Miles Sanders which offensive lineman wows everyone the most when they go back and watch film and he looked at me like I was an idiot. Of course it’s Kelce. Do you see that man 30 yards downfield blocking multiple players?

At some point, the Eagles are going to have to figure out life after Kelce, but enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.

3. Jake Elliott

The 2020 season was the worst of Elliott’s career and it was hard not to wonder if the Eagles made a terrible decision by handing him a contract. But Elliott has responded in 2021, having what is by far the best season of his career.

Through 13 games, Elliott has made 22 of 24 field goal attempts and all 33 of his extra points. In 2020, his field goal percentage was 73.7%, a career low. In 2021, his field goal percentage is 91.7%, a career high. Elliott has the fourth-highest FG percentage in the NFL behind Chris Boswell (96%), Matt Gay (95.8%) and Justin Tucker (92.6%).

The only kicks Elliott hasn’t made this year came from 47 yards and 46 yards, but the 47-yard attempt against the 49ers was blocked. So he’s really missed just one kick this year.

And as voting hits high gear, Elliott has made his last 15 attempts.

4. Javon Hargrave

Early in the season, Hargrave looked like an easy choice. And after five weeks of the season, when he had 6 sacks in 5 games, he would have been No. 1 on this list. But in the eight games since that hot start, Hargrave has just 1 1/2 sacks, all of which have come in the last two weeks.

Make no mistake, he’s still playing well, he’s still getting pressure. But sometimes sacks can be a flukey thing and opposing teams have definitely started to shift help his way. So he’s seeing fewer 1-on-1s, which helps his teammates but doesn’t help him pick up sacks.

Still, he already has a career high with 7 1/2 sacks and counting. And that ties him with Jeffery Simmons for the league lead among defensive tackles.

5. Jordan Mailata

Mailata won the left tackle job from Andre Dillard (easily) in training camp and has been playing at a high level ever since. OK, with one exception. His game against the Raiders and Yannick Ngakoue didn’t go very well. But aside from that, Mailata has been excellent.

While he’s been very good in pass protection, he’s been arguably even better as a run blocker. Having him and Landon Dickerson together on the left side of the line gives the Eagles 700 pounds to run behind on that side. And they do it a ton.

 

The Eagles gave Mailata a big contract earlier this season and he’s proven himself to be worth it already. He has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro.

6. Lane Johnson

It was kind of a tossup between Mailata and Johnson for me. Both have given the Eagles an extremely high level of play. And Johnson has been lights out since returning from his three-game absence earlier this season as he dealt with some mental health issues.

Johnson is is a three-time Pro Bowler but missed the cut last year after playing in just seven games. The good news is his ankle is holding up in 2021. While he still deals with some swelling in that surgically repaired left ankle, he hasn’t missed any significant time because of it. And the Eagles are getting the kind of production they expect out of the 31-year-old former first-round pick.

7. Dallas Goedert

With his career-high performance of 105 receiving yards against the Jets, Goedert has to enter the Pro Bowl conversation. In 12 games this season, Goedert has 41 catches for 596 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s just 11 yards away from his career high with four games to go.

The Eagles traded away Zach Ertz earlier this season because they wanted to see Goedert in that TE1 role and he hasn’t disappointed. While he’s seventh in the NFL among tight ends in receiving yards, he’s third among NFC tight ends behind just Kyle Pitts (709) and George Kittle (606). Like Kittle, Goedert’s blocking is a huge part of his game and he has helped the Eagles transform into a run-first offense. Those contributions are overlooked far too often.

8. Shaun Bradley

The second-year linebacker hasn’t played much on defense this year — just 28 total defensive snaps — but he has become a special teams ace of sorts. Just a couple weeks ago, Nick Sirianni began stumping for votes for Bradley, who is second on the team in special teams snaps and first in special teams tackles.

In fact, Bradley has 11 special teams tackles, which puts him among the leaders in the NFC. Bradley deserves some consideration but it’ll probably be tough for him to make the Pro Bowl roster from a team with a losing record.

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