Jake Elliott

The best Eagles defensive players and specialists to never make a Pro Bowl

The best Eagles defensive players and specialists to never make a Pro Bowl

Yesterday, we took a look at the best Eagles offensive players to never make a Pro Bowl.

Today, we move on to the defense and special teams.

Some interesting decisions to make, especially at safety and outside linebacker.

Here's Part 2 of the Never-Made-a-Pro-Bowl all-time Eagles team!

Defensive tackles 

Andy Harmon, Mike Patterson 
Harmon should have made at least one Pro Bowl, but he did record 39 1/2 sacks as an interior lineman during his seven seasons with the Eagles, and he also had a non-Pro Bowl season with 10 1/2 sacks.

Patterson spent the last eight years of the Andy Reid Era with the Eagles and was just a solid, no-nonsense run stuffer who was part of three top-10 defenses and four playoff teams.

Kenny Clark, a terrific pass rusher and solid against the run for most of the 1980s, could easily have made the team.

Defensive ends

Brandon Graham, Greg Brown
Graham has the most sacks in Eagles history without a Pro Bowl — 51 1/2 — and the fourth-most among active players.

Greg Brown had 50 1/2 sacks as an Eagle in the mid-1980s, including seasons with 13 and 16 sacks without a Pro Bowl. He's one of only 11 players in NFL history with two 13-sack non-Pro Bowl seasons.

Outside linebackers

John Bunting, Carlos Emmons
Bunting is a lock for the first spot, and Emmons edges Mychal Kendricks for the second. 

Bunting spent his entire 11-year career with the Eagles, starting 116 games, including the 1980 Super Bowl, and Emmons was a vastly underrated player on the early Jim Johnson defenses.

Inside linebacker

Byron Evans 
Evans was overshadowed by all the Pro Bowl talent around him, but he was a very solid and productive middle linebacker during his eight-year career spanning the Buddy Ryan and Rich Kotite years. Tough against the run and solid in coverage.  

Safety

Randy Logan, Don Burroughs 
This is the toughest position to call. 

Logan, Joe Scarpati, Don Burroughs and Andre Waters were all very good safeties. But there are only two spots. 

Logan spent his entire 11-year career with the Eagles, playing on the 1980 Super Bowl team, starting 154 games and intercepting 23 passes. Nobody in franchise history has started more games without making a Pro Bowl.

Scarpati had an incredible non-Pro Bowl season in 1966 with eight interceptions and had 25 INTs in his six seasons with the Eagles in the 1960s.

Burroughs’ 50 interceptions (29 with the Eagles) are the most in NFL history by a safety who never made a Pro Bowl. From 1960 through 1962, his first three years with the Eagles, he had nine, seven and seven INTs, making him one of only seven players in NFL history with seven or more INTs in three straight years, and he still didn’t make a Pro Bowl.

Waters was one of the NFC’s top safeties in the late 1980s and early 1990s and should have made the Pro Bowl after his six-interception 1986 season.

And we didn't even mention Nate Ramsey or Brenard Wilson, who also had some very good years here without ever getting a Pro Bowl nod.

We've got to go with Logan and Burroughs.

Cornerback

Sheldon Brown, Herm Edwards
Edwards and Brown were both very solid corners who spent most of their careers with the Eagles. They rank No. 1 and 2 in Eagles history among non-Pro Bowl corners with 33 and 19 INTs, respectively, and nobody else is really close.

Specialists

Jake Elliott, Donnie Jones, Al Nelson, Larry Marshall
Elliott’s 84.1 percent career accuracy is sixth-highest in NFL history among non-Pro Bowlers. Jones’ 45.4 average is No. 13 in NFL history among non-Pro Bowl punters, and he’s punted more than any other non-Pro Bowler. 

Marshall averaged 10.6 yards per punt return during his three full seasons with the Eagles — 1975 through 1977 — highest in the NFC during that span, but still never got a Pro Bowl invite. And Nelson’s 26.0 kick return average as an Eagle from 1965 through 1973 is ninth-highest in NFL history by a non-Pro Bowler.

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Are the 2020 Eagles better or worse on special teams?

Are the 2020 Eagles better or worse on special teams?

Executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman says the Eagles are a better football team after free agency and the draft. We're putting his claim to the test, breaking down the depth chart position by position to examine whether the roster really improved or actually took a step back this offseason.

Up next: Special teams, which has a surprising number of questions despite returning its three primary specialists.

Better

The Eagles' return game has been a bit of a mess the past couple seasons. Darren Sproles is one of the greatest punt returners of all time, but he didn't handle kickoffs and missed a lot of time. Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Corey Clement may be able to replace Sproles in the backfield, but none of the three were particularly stellar returning kicks.

Fortunately, the draft provided the Eagles with other options for both jobs. First-round pick Jalen Reagor seems like the obvious choice to take over for Sproles on punts. The speedy wideout scored two punt return touchdowns for TCU in 2019 — tied for most in the nation — and finished second with a 20.8 average. And, should he make the team, fifth-round receiver John Hightower could handle kicks, as he did for Boise State, where he averaged 24.6 yards per return with a touchdown.

Worse

Most of the Eagles' biggest special teams contributors are back, but there are a handful that may need to be replaced. Of course, that is the case every year.

On the trade block is Rasul Douglas, who played the third-highest number of snaps for the unit (57.5 percent), while fellow cornerback Craig James, who's on the roster bubble, was fifth at 52.2 percent. Both are especially noteworthy because, should Sidney Jones make the club, he plays very little special teams.

A little further down the list, though still with significant roles, were safeties Malcolm Jenkins (25.6 percent) and Marcus Epps (24.7 percent), one having departed, the other on the bubble.

Coverage units were neutral at best for the Eagles last season, so maybe it's not that big a deal. Still, some work lies ahead.

The same

The Eagles are fortunate to have two of the top young specialists in the game, punter Cameron Johnston and long snapper Rick Lovato. Johnston doesn't get nearly enough love around the league. He can kick some real boomers, finishing third with 48.1 yards per punt in 2018, but is also a solid directional kicker. And the best thing you can say for Lovato, or any long snapper really, is you almost never hear his name mentioned. One negative though: Lovato doesn't know magic.

The unknown

Three seasons into his career, it remains unsettled as to whether Jake Elliott is a good kicker — or at least a reliable one. He certainly hasn't been bad, hovering right around 84 percent on field goals every year, which put him right smack dab in the middle of the league at 16th in 2019. A 94 percent success rate on extra points was only good for 23rd, though.

I'll say this for Elliott: those percentages certainly can be improved upon, but you don't see the guy missing many clutch kicks when it matters. Still, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the way of consistency.

Better or worse?

After several seasons fielding one of the best special teams units in the NFL, the Eagles have been uncharacteristically average for several seasons now. One of the primary reasons was the return game, which seems to have been addressed. Putting Reagor on punts would be an immediate upgrade, and it would help out a lot if Hightower can crack the roster and handle kicks.

There's always some uncertainty cycling new players into coverage units. Getting a spark in the return game goes a long way toward helping not just on special teams, but the offense and defense, too. 

Better

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Newest addition to Jake Elliott's family makes Willy from Philly a big brother

Newest addition to Jake Elliott's family makes Willy from Philly a big brother

Newlyweds Jake and Annie Elliott easily have one of the cutest pets in the city — with the best name — Willy from Philly. Recently, Willy was able to watch his humans get married and it was some of the best content in 2020. I promise, go look real fast

Now, there’s a new addition to their family — meet Roxanne, who also goes by Roxy. 

Elliott posted on his social media that this little pup needed an emergency foster family about a month ago, so the couple took her in. Now, she isn't going anywhere and is officially an Elliott. 

Her new brother already loves her dearly. 


… and so does all of Philly! 

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