Getting selected to the NFL Pro Bowl may not carry the same significance that it once did, but it’s still an achievement worth noting. Especially for anyone on the Eagles — a team that never seems to send that many players to Honolulu.
Despite a losing record, the Eagles are trending in the right direction and have had a handful of standout performances on both sides of the ball.
Here are four players that deserve to get a Pro Bowl nod this season.
After a lack luster season in 2020, Darius Slay has earned his Big Play monicker this year. He wasn’t bad last year, Slay was still solid on coverage, but the turnovers and impact plays were few and far between.
Slay has recorded two interceptions, three pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries for touchdowns in 2021. His 75.0 Pro Football Focus defensive grade ranks him 14th out of 119 qualifying corners. When Slay has been targeted in coverage, he’s allowing a 66.7 completion percentage and a passer rating of 84.6.
While the completion percentage is a bit high, Slay he only allowed 271 yards on 32 receptions, which averages out to just 8.5 yards per catch, the fourth-lowest mark of any starting corner in the league. He’s also coming of arguably his best performance of the year, allowing just one catch for -2 yards against Denver, en route to earning his first NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Slay has been the glue in the Eagles secondary all season. Without him, who knows how bad the Eagles pass defense would be. There’s no doubt he should earn his fourth Pro Bowl nod of his career in 2021.
Making a Pro Bowl as a rookie is rare, especially at the wide receiver position. Justin Jefferson did it last season, but he was the first one to do so since Amari Cooper in 2015. Since 1998, only six rookie wideouts have earned Pro Bowl nods, Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper, and Jefferson.
Can DeVonta Smith etch his name as the seventh on that list? It’s certainly possible. Through 11 games, Smith has hauled in 42 receptions for 603 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also the highest graded rookie wide receiver in the league per PFF.
His season got off to a bit of a slow start, but he’s been on a torrid pace over the past month. Over the past four weeks, Smith is the highest graded wideout in the entire NFL per PFF.
He remains the only legitimate pass catching threat at the wide receiver position for the Eagles, so don’t expect his production to go down anytime soon. The development of Jalen Hurts should also contribute to Smith’s Pro Bowl pace. As Hurts continues to develop as a passer, Smith’s numbers will only continue to improve.
Philly hasn’t sent a wideout to the Pro Bowl since DeSean Jackson in 2013. On his current pace, Smith should become the first Eagles receiver in the Pro Bowl in eight years.
Jason Kelce has made five straight Pro Bowls and the streak shouldn’t end this season. Kelce has, once again, been one of the best centers in the NFL this year. He hasn’t missed a game and he’s ranked as the fourth-highest graded center in football according to PFF.
His 90.0 run blocking grade ranks second out of 35 qualifying centers. On the pass blocking front, Kelce has only allowed one sack and 12 total pressures on the quarterback. Playing alongside rookie Landon Dickerson on his left side and second-year player Jack Drscoll on his right, Kelce’s ability to hold down the fort and continue to play at an elite level is truly remarkable.
Kelce making the Pro Bowl is a foregone conclusion at this point.
After a ridiculous start to the 2021 campaign, Javon Hargrave‘s production as slowed down a bit. He recorded six sacks in the first five games of the season, setting up a potential All-Pro season for himself. But he hasn’t recorded a single sack since then.
Nevertheless, Hargrave has tallied nine total quarterback hurries since Week 5 and he’s still tied for second among interior defenders in sacks. His 89.7 pass rushing grade ranks third among 100 qualifying defensive tackles.
If Hargrave reaches double digit sacks, he’s going to be a clear cut favorite to get to the Pro Bowl. He’ll just need to recapture what made him so dominant over the first month and a half of the season.
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