After ranking players 21-40 on the Eagles’ roster yesterday, I ranked the top 20 guys on the team here. Like I mentioned before, this was a difficult task and I’m willing to hear arguments to move players around, but here’s what I had:
UPDATE: After some discussion on Twitter, I switched the guys at #2 and #3.
20. RB Ryan Mathews
Mathews has been a starter in the past and has been great when healthy. His health is his biggest issue though. If he can stay on the field, he should have a very productive year as the team’s number two guy.
19. DE Vinny Curry
Curry had a sensational season last year as a backup. His pass-rushing dominance led him to nine sacks, but it’ll be hard for him to crack the starting lineup.
18. DE Cedric Thornton
Thornton is right in front of Curry on the depth chart and is seen as a great run-stopper. In terms of overall skill he’s similar to Curry, but it remains to be seen who will emerge as the starter despite Thornton starting every game last year.
17. OLB Brandon Graham
Graham was another backup who had a great season last year, and he was rewarded in the offseason with a new contract and a spot in the starting lineup, replacing Trent Cole.
16. ILB Mychal Kendricks
Kendricks is the lowest ranked of the team’s three great inside linebackers because of a drop-off last year. He missed a few games and needed some time to get back in the swing of things, so hopefully he’ll be able to stay healthy and regain the form of his 2013 season.
15. CB Brandon Boykin
Boykin is another guy who had a great 2013 campaign, only to drop off a bit in 2014. There still seems to be a shot for him to start on the outside, but if that doesn’t happen, he’ll remain in the slot, where he’s been one of the best in the league.
14. TE Zach Ertz
Ertz is slowly becoming the team’s top tight end. While he hasn’t had that breakout season yet, he has shown that he has potential to do so soon.
13. ILB DeMeco Ryans
I list Ryans higher than Kendricks for two reasons: his constant success and his leadership. I think Ryans only has a season or two of great football left in him, but for now, I still think he’s a better player than Kendricks.
12. RB Darren Sproles
It may seem a bit high to list a seemingly third-string running back this high, but his contributions go far beyond running the ball. He is a great returner and pass catcher, and was voted to the top 100 players in the NFL.
11. QB Sam Bradford
Considering his lack of success and two torn ACLs, it may seem strange to nearly put Bradford in the top 10, but his potential and fit are two huge contributing factors. Assuming he stays healthy, he could easily be more than just their 11th best player.
10. S Malcolm Jenkins
Jenkins starts out the top 10. He took over a lot of the leadership duties in the second half of last year when Ryans got hurt, and while he didn’t have an amazing year, he still is a very good player.
9. CB Byron Maxwell
Maxwell has the potential to be even better than the ninth best player on the team (based on his contract), but he’s still pretty inexperienced and will have to prove it first. Still, he’s the team’s top defensive back.
8. WR Jordan Matthews
Matthews had a great rookie year and is my pick for the most likely player to have a breakout year for the Eagles in 2015. He will be the obvious number one guy even if he’s playing in the slot. He should definitely exceed 1,000 receiving yards.
7. OT Lane Johnson
Johnson had a slight mishap last year when he was suspended for the first four games for PED use, but other than that, he has been quickly improving into one of the best players on the team and probably one of the best right tackles in the NFL.
6. ILB Kiko Alonso
Alonso had an incredible rookie year, but missed all of last year with a torn ACL. So which guy are we going to see in 2015? Assuming he’s healthy, I expect him to have another monster year. He was a top five inside linebacker in the league after just one year and should continue that dominance in green and white.
5. OLB Connor Barwin
While Alonso is a great linebacker, Barwin is the best linebacker on the team. His leadership role has expanded and he had an incredible year last year, recording 14.5 sacks on his way to his first Pro Bowl.
4. C Jason Kelce
Kelce had his best year in 2013, but he still made the Pro Bowl last year, something not too many current Eagles can say. He’s widely seen as one of the best centers in the league.
3. RB DeMarco Murray
Murray won the rushing title last year and barring any injury, has the potential to do it again in 2015. His offensive line certainly helped him reach that success, but the Eagles have a great line as well. Murray should be a big portion of their offense.
2. DE Fletcher Cox
Cox didn’t make the Pro Bowl last year, but Chip Kelly rightfully called him the team’s defensive MVP. He is a dominant force and is in line to have a great 2015 season.
1. OT Jason Peters
And finally, the number one guy: Jason Peters. He will almost certainly be a Hall of Fame selection once he retires after making the Pro Bowl in what has seemed like every year. He is no doubt the best player on this team.
Well, that’s the end of my rankings. Agree with them? Think they’re terrible? Let me know what you think or make an argument about where you think some of the players should be.