April 06, 2020
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s and it included one current and three former Eagles players — as well one obvious omission and a few other missing players who certainly had a chance at making this team.
But first, let's take a took at the players who did make the list.
For starters, there's Eagles defensive tackle Cox, who was one of four at his position to earn all-decade honors. Unlike Aaron Donald, however, Cox was not a unanimous selection. In eights seasons with the Eagles since being selected 12th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cox has been a beast in the middle and has not only made life more difficult for opposing offensive linemen, but he's also helped make life easier for his teammates on the Birds defensive front, drawing double teams and creating more room for his line mates to work. He's recorded 48 sacks, has been named to five straight Pro Bowls, and has been largely considered the second-best defensive tackle in the game behind Donald for the last half decade.
Then there's a trio of former Eagles who made the cut, including one player who made it twice.
Sproles, who spent the last six years with the Eagles before retiring this past season, was named to both the offensive (as a FLEX) and special teams (as a punt returner) list. And it's hard to argue with either of those honors. Sproles was a game changer who didn't require a ton of touches to make his impact felt. He's seventh in NFL history in kick return yards and 13th in punt return yards and seventh in punt return touchdowns. He retired with the fifth most all-purpose yards in NFL history and while he only made three Pro Bowls, his impact on his teams as both an offensive spark plug and a scoring threat on special teams could lead him to a place in Canton one day.
Another former Eagles running back, one who won't wind up with the numbers and accolades of Sproles, but one who still holds the franchise's all-time career rushing record: LeSean McCoy. There have been some whispers of a potential reunion in Philly with former teammate DeSean Jackson, but even if McCoy doesn't suit up again for the Birds, he'll still hold an important place in the team's history. In six seasons with Philadelphia, Shady ran for 6,792 yards and 44 touchdowns to go along with 300 receptions for 2,282 and 10 more touchdowns. He also made three Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All Pro twice in his six seasons in Philly.
After being traded away by Chip Kelly, McCoy went on to play four seasons in Buffalo and one in Kansas City, where he won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in February. McCoy added another 5,794 yards from scrimmage (4,279 of it on the ground) and 35 more touchdowns, bringing his career totals up to 11,071 rushing yards (73 TDs) and 3,797 receiving yards (15 TDs) on 503 career receptions.
Jason Peters, who likely played his last game in Philly after the Eagles decided to let him test free agency this offseason, was one of four offensive tackles to make the list, but like Cox was not a unanimous selection, although there's likely an argument to be made that Peters deserved that. The future Hall of Famer has been one of, if not the best left tackles in football for nearly the entire decade — and was pretty dominant in the last decade as well. He's made nine Pro Bowls (seven with the Eagles) and was selected as a first-team All-Pro twice (both with the Eagles).
But at least he made the list. Unlike a pair of fellow Eagles offensive players who have real arguments that they should be on the team.
The first, and most obvious omission, is center Jason Kelce. There were only two center spots on the list, but the Eagles vet was deserving of a spot, but ultimately lost out to Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey. Kelce, who has three trips to the Pro Bowl and a trio of Associated Press first-team All Pro nods, may not have as much hardware as Pouncey, who has eight Pro Bowls and two first-team All Pro selections, but his play has not seemed to fall off in the later years of his career as he's been named a first-team All pro each of the last three years. Alex Mack, meanwhile, hasn't been named an AP All-Pro ever, and has lost the award to Kelce for three years running.
There are a lot of great tackles from this past decade, I’m just not sure how many centers even touch Jason Kelce over the last half of the 2010s. If Calais Campbell is in because of the last five years, not sure how Kelce isn’t.— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) April 6, 2020
Add to that the fact that Kelce is the centerpiece of what has been considered one of the best offensive lines in football for several years running, and it's hard to say he isn't worthy of a place on this list. His Super Bowl parade speech alone should get him a spot. But, with just two spots for a ton of players, someone was going to miss the cut. And Kelce would almost certainly make it if they let one more center in.
But there was one Kelce who did make the list — Jason's brother and Chiefs tight end Travis — and that probably came at the expense of another Eagle, as Zach Ertz lost out to him and Rob Gronkowski. You won't find any arguments here over Gronk making the list, as he was as dominant a tight end as the NFL as ever seen and played a big role changing the way the position is viewed around the league. But the difference between Kelce and Ertz might not be as big as you expect.
Both players came into the league at the same time, and both have up up pretty similar regular season numbers through their first seven seasons:
Kelce has also made five straight Pro Bowls while Ertz has made three straight. The one thing that Ertz has going for him is the fact that he set the single-season receptions record for a tight end back in 2018, but based purely on the numbers, it seems like the Pro Football Hall of Fame got this one right. It will be interesting to see how these two finish out their careers and whether or not Kelce is able to wide the gap or if Ertz is able to keep the numbers this close.
Here's a look at the full list of players to make the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team:
WR – Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones
TE – Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce
T – Jason Peters, Tyron Smith, Joe Staley, Joe Thomas
G – Jahri Evans, Logan Mankins, Zack Martin, Marshal Yanda
C – Alex Mack, Maurkice Pouncey
QB – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers
RB – Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson
Flex – Darren Sproles
DE – Calais Campbell, Cameron Jordan, Julius Peppers, J.J. Watt
DT – Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh
LB – Chandler Jones, Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Bobby Wagner, Patrick Willis
CB – Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman
S – Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle
DB – Chris Harris, Tyrann Mathieu
P – Johnny Hekker, Shane Lechler
K – Stephen Gostkowski, Justin Tucker
PR – Tyreek Hill, Darren Sproles
KR – Devin Hester, Cordarrelle Patterson
Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll
Despite a couple of questionable omissions — and our sometime bias might be shining through there — it was a good showing for the Eagles, both past and present.
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