Next up in our series of predicting which Eagles are in contention for NFL Honors entering the 2020 season, we turn our attention to both the offensive and defensive player of the year.
Offensive Player of the Year
Truth be told here isn’t a player on the roster, including Wentz, that I believe could put up the kind of season that would warrant this award. The team is constructed of players that complement each other extremely well and that could lead to a remarkable season.
Since 2010, only six players won both the MVP and the OPOY awards. While the Eagles have dynamic players, the likes of McCaffrey, Julio Jones, Saquon Barkley, and DeAndre Hopkins could put a dent in the plans of an OPOY award coming to Philadelphia.
Again, MVP and OPOY are different.
Defensive Player of the Year
The most dynamic member of the Eagles defensive line since Reggie White should be in the mix for DPOY every year. However, it really hasn’t been the case with Fletch. He is coming off his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl season and is one season removed from an All-Pro nomination. Somehow, he hasn’t done enough yet to warrant DPOY recognition. Could 2020 be the year he finally breaks out? A new Chris Jones contract could be the motivation he needed.
Why he can win
The Eagles defensive line may not be the deepest, but they have some players that will scare offensive lines. With the talent surrounding Cox, it could lead to fewer double teams and more opportunities to make a big-time play. We may finally be looking at a 12-15 sack season. Those numbers would be the most since Connor Barwin’s 14.5 in 2014.
Why he can’t win
It’s fun to speculate just how dominant Cox can be with the new pieces around him, but it’s not like he’s had complete slouches in years past. Chris Long, Michael Bennett, Brandon Graham, and Timmy Jernigan have all played next to him. Cox has yet to really show just how truly dominant he can be. Could it be the injuries that have plagued him for a few years? Sure, but it’s not a good omen for award recognition. Aaron Donald is still in the league, as well as Khalil Mack, so the battle of dominant defensive line players is a tough one.
In 2019, Stephon Gilmore became the first DB to win the DPOY award since Troy Polamalu in 2010. He was the first cornerback to win the award since Deion Sanders in 1994. In a passing league where it’s becoming easier for quarterbacks to get the ball out of their hands, the value of the cornerback is skyrocketing. The Eagles finally have one worth mentioning for this award.
Why he can win
People forget just how dominant Slay has been since entering the league in 2013. He’s 12th in the league in INT with 19 and first in passes defensed with 104. In that same span, Gilmore has just four more INT and nine fewer passes defended. He has 89 forced incompletions since 2013, according to ProFootballFocus, which is tied with Gilmore for most in the league.
The Flippin’ the Birds duo recently had Slay’s footwork coach on for an interview and he raved about Slay’s cerebral approach to the game. With Jim Schwartz’s new love for press-man and continued love for zone schemes, Slay could be a perfect fit.
Why he can’t win
His dominance may be his downfall when it comes to being appreciated for this award. With the talent behind him a question mark, teams could simply shy away from targeting Slay’s side of the field, thus giving him fewer opportunities to make a play on the ball.
As is the case with Fletcher Cox, the plethora of defensive linemen who could win this award plus the likes of Gilmore, Jalen Ramsey, and Tre’Davious White could make it near impossible for Slay to walk away with the award.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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