August 03, 2023
The NFL's Top 100 list annoys me every year so I'm a little hesitant to give it credence, but I have a busy day ahead and I have to write something, so what the hell, here are the seven Philadelphia Eagles players who are on the list or will soon be named to it.
In his second season in Philadelphia, Smith became a safety blanket for Jalen Hurts. Smith led the Eagles with 95 receptions, adding a career-high 1,196 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Smith’s game leaped as he became a viable No. 2 option behind A.J. Brown, cutting through defenses while doubling his yards-after-catch production from 220 to 490 yards.
#JimmySays: It's interesting to me how some veteran players sort of linger on these lists way longer than they should. At wide receiver, for example, DeAndre Hopkins is 90th. Smith is No. 100 and Terry McLaurin is No. 94. Hopkins is decidedly not a better player at this stage of his career than Smith or McLaurin.
(I do think No. 100 overall is fine place for Smith to be, for now.)
In his third season with the Eagles, Big Play Slay reminded everyone how he got his name with three interceptions and 14 passes defensed, which landed him on the 2022 Pro Bowl roster for the second year in a row (fifth total). Philadelphia's top cover man helped allow its attacking defense to nearly break the team record for sacks in a season, which of course helped lead the Eagles toward an appearance in Super Bowl LVII.
#JimmySays: I think Slay is too high. He started off the 2022 season on fire, but faded down the stretch. James Bradberry was the Eagles' best corner last season.
Likely the best defensive free-agent signing of 2022, Reddick put himself on the map in Philadelphia. He finished tied with Myles Garrett for second-most sacks (16) while leading the NFL with five forced fumbles. He showed up in the clutch, too, adding 3.5 more sacks and another fumble created during the Eagles’ playoff run. Due $1.08 million in base salary heading into 2023, Reddick remains a massive bargain for the defending NFC champs.
#JimmySays: Obviously there aren't 47 players in the NFL who are better than Reddick. I do understand why he's not as high as he should be on this list though, since they collect votes for this thing in-season, and Reddick did his severe damage in the back half of the season and into the playoffs.
Johnson is one of the most dominant linemen in the game, possessing the rare combination of mauling strength and quick feet. He’s a natural fit to block for mobile quarterback Jalen Hurts and the run-happy Eagles. Johnson was named to his second first-team All-Pro team in 2022 while earning the second-highest PFF pass blocking grade (90.1) among tackles, plus his position’s fifth-highest offensive grade overall (84.8).
#JimmySays: Johnson is the best offensive lineman in the NFL, and in my opinion, a top 20 player. The Eagles confidently put him on an island and ask him to shut down elite edge rushers on his own, and he never fails.
Unfortunately for Johnson, if you're an offensive lineman and you don't have Cris Collinsworth slobbering all over you on Sunday Night Football like he does with Trent Williams, then the general public and even other NFL players who don't often face you won't know much about you. It's a shame sometimes that people who are not watching players like Johnson week in and week out cannot fully appreciate the way he consistently erases anyone he faces.
It should be noted that over the past year or so, Johnson has been getting more recognition nationally. Last year he did not make the Top 100 list at all, which is really an indictment on how laughable this list can be. This year he's up to 41, so his cache is growing late in his career, even if he has been an elite player for at least the last 7 or 8 years. But very clearly he should be higher on the list. I mean, the guy is one spot ahead of Kirk Cousins. Austin Ekeler is 21st, lol. Like, what are we doing here?
Kelce helped handpick his eventual replacement, Cam Jurgens, in the 2022 draft. Then, he went out and had his fifth All-Pro season in the last six years. Kelce’s shown no signs of regression entering his age-36 season. He was PFF’s second-best center by a wide margin, and he’s the primary blocker on Philly’s “tush-push” QB sneak, a play that’s become so lethal, teams wanted to ban it.
#JimmySays: "Second best center by a wide margin" is a funny phrase to me.
After three strong years in Tennessee, Brown was traded to Philadelphia during last year’s draft and quickly adjusted to his new stomping grounds. His 1,496 receiving yards set a single-season franchise record, and he and DeVonta Smith became a top pass-catching pair. As Brown signed a four-year extension with Philly after the trade, Eagles fans will be happy to have this guy on the team for the years to come.
#JimmySays: 22 is higher than I would think Brown would land on the list, but there's little argument that he is an impact player who can produce big plays down the field, while also moving the chains on third down.
#JimmySays: There are 20 players yet to be named, and Hurts will be one of them.
I think there are reasonable arguments to consider Josh Sweat, Dallas Goedert, and James Bradberry among the 100 best players in the NFL. I would have all three players ahead of Slay, for example. Jordan Mailata is another guy who could crack the list soon enough, but I think he was rightfully not on it this year.
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