Malcolm Jenkins officially retires; where does he rank among Eagles safeties all-time?

After 13 years, 191 starts, two Super Bowl rings, and three Pro Bowl selections, former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has officially retired from the NFL.

Jenkins will always hold a special place in Eagles’ fans hearts, for obvious reasons. He was the vocal leader of the Doug Pederson era and the most valuable piece to Jim Schwartz’s defense. He didn’t miss a single game during his six-year stint in Philly and made all three of his Pro Bowls as a member of the Eagles. He helped guide the Eagles to their first and only Super Bowl victory in 2017-’18, delivering one of the most memorable moments during Super Bowl 52.

Not only was Jenkins instrumental to the Eagles success on the field, he became a staple of the Philadelphia community, launching the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation during his time in the city. He took home the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award in 2017 for his charitable efforts off the field, joining Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, and Reggie White as the only Eagles to ever win the award.

Through and through, Jenkins epitomized what it meant to be a Philadelphia Eagle.

Where does Jenkins rank among all-time Eagles safeties?

Since he’s officially retired, we figured it’s about time we look at where Jenkins ranks among all-time Eagles safeties. The Eagles have had at least one Pro Bowl safety in every decade dating back to the 1960’s, but only one has made the Hall of Fame, Brian Dawkins.

So let’s start there. Dawkins is a no-brainer as the best Eagles safety of all-time. During his 13-year Eagles career, Dawkins was widely considered as one of, if not the best safety in the game. He earned four first-team All Pro selections, along with seven trips to the Pro Bowl. He finished his Eagles career with 34 interceptions, 723 solo tackles, 32 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, 21 sacks, and three touchdowns.

Jenkins was damn good during his Eagles career, but it’s hard to top a Hall of Fame resume.

Here are the other safeties that deserve consideration:

  • Bill Bradley (1969-’76)
  • Randy Logan (1973-’83)
  • Wes Hopkins (1983-’93)
  • Andre Waters (1984-’93)
  • Quintin Mikell (2003-’10)

Bill Bradley and Randy Logan were way before my time, so truthfully, I can’t say a whole lot about them. Bradley became the first NFL player to lead the league in interceptions in back-to-back seasons from 1971-’72. He accounted for 20 interceptions during that two-year span, earning himself first-team All-Pro honor both years.

Fun Fact: Bradley totaled 213 punts during his career. During his All-Pro 1972 season, Bradley recorded 56 punts and averaged 40.1 yards per boot. Not bad for a safety.

Logan had a steady career for the Eagles, totaling 23 interceptions during his 11-year career. But he never made a Pro Bowl or led the league in any categories.

Jenkins gets the nod over Logan here, but Bradley certainly has a strong case to be ahead of Jenkins on the list. Though Bradley has some insane numbers, he never came close to that high point again. Jenkins was a consistent force each year he was in Philly and was a pivotal member of the Super Bowl team. For that, he ranks higher than Bradley. I know there will be some old heads that think this is ludacris, but hey, maybe if he Bradley did that in an era where quarterback play mattered, I’d value it more.

Moving onto the Wes Hopkins/Andre Waters era, they were a force in the Buddy Ryan defense. The two formed arguably the best safety duo in the league during that time, but they only have one Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection between them, both going to Hopkins in 1985. That shouldn’t take away from their excellence as a duo, though. Hopkins tallied 30 interceptions during his 10-year career, and Waters totaled 15.

Comparing the two to Jenkins, Hopkins had the longer Eagles career and did put up better numbers, despite earning two-less Pro Bowls than Jenkins. Waters was essentially a modern day linebacker playing safety. He racked up 789 tackles from 1986-’91, an average of 131.5 per season. The original No. 20 for the Eagles certainly played like an earlier version of B-Dawk, but he didn’t capture the highs that Dawkins did as an Eagle. Or Jenkins for that matter, who proved to be a more valuable piece to the Eagles defense than Waters was in the 80’s/90’s.

Hopkins ranks higher than Jenkins here, but Jenkins will get the nod over Waters.

That leaves us with Quintin Mikell. I’m not going to argue that Mikell had a better career than Jenkins because he didn’t, but he was better than most people probably remember. Once he became a full-time starter in 2008-’10, Mikell tallied 8 interceptions, 38 pass defenses, 3 forced fumbles, 3 sacks, and 214 solo tackles. He was named as a second-team All-Pro in 2008 and 2010, while earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2009.

Now that we’ve covered all of our bases, let’s put these safeties into a ranking:

  1. Brian Dawkins
  2. Wes Hopkins
  3. Malcolm Jenkins
  4. Andre Waters
  5. Bill Bradley
  6. Randy Logan
  7. Quintin Mikell

So there you have it. Jenkins comes in as the third-best safety in Eagles history. Of course, this is just my opinion and I’m sure your list differs. Share your lists in the comments down below and let’s discuss it.

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