The Eagles don’t have another scheduled practice until the end of July and free agency seems to have ended for the club. Barring any unforeseen news, we won’t hear from the team for at least a month. So while we have some down-time, it’s time to grade out the best Eagles at each position over the last two decades. The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the winningest teams in football over the last 20 years with two Super Bowl appearances, one title, and six conference championship appearances.
Today, we’re looking at one of the top groups the Eagles have had: the offensive line.
5. Evan Mathis
One of the only guards on the Eagles to be named as a first team All-Pro. Mathis came to the Eagles in 2011 and started almost every game for the next three years.
His best year was in 2013 when, with Chip Kelly’s offense, Mathis went from a good, athletic guard, to the best left guard in football. Injuries ended up curtailing his career in Philadelphia, but at his height, Mathis was the best guard in football and that alone deserves a spot on this list.
People will complain about Brandon Brooks not being on the list, but Brooks was never a First-Team All-Pro.
4. Jon Runyan
Runyan came to Philadelphia in 2000 and became one of the best free agent signings the team ever made. Runyan only made one pro-bowl in Philadelphia, but his dominance was incredibly underrated when discussing the importance the former Michigan man made in Philly. He also got under the skin of the NFL’s best.
Runyan’s battles with Michael Strahan were legendary and he held his own in many of those matchups against the Hall-of-Famer.
The Eagles offensive line in the early and late 2000’s shifted different centers and guards over the years. The two positions they did not change were right tackle, and left tackle.
There’s a reason for that and it was absolutely the play of Jon Runyan.
3. Tra Thomas
Before another guy on this list, an argument could be made that Thomas was the best left tackle the Eagles have had over the last quarter century.
Thomas made three pro-bowls, was a second team All-Pro, and the true anchor of the early 2000’s Eagles dominance in the trenches. Philadelphia did not have a lot of skill position talent but it didn’t matter because Thomas and Runyan together were so good.
An 11 year career with the Eagles, Thomas’ time in Philadelphia only ended because of the second guy on the list.
2. Jason Peters
While Thomas and Runyan probably won’t be in the Hall-of-Fame, Peters is a lock to get into Canton.
Traded to the Eagles in 2009, Peters became one of the greatest acquisitions in Eagles history. Nine pro-bowls, six different all-pro teams and the undisputed top left tackle in the game for over a decade, Peters was the best offensive lineman the Eagles have ever had.
A perfect blend of size, speed and skill, Peters was the apple to many team’s eye when looking for comps in the NFL draft.
Why isn’t he #1? Because as good as Peters was, he didn’t change the way the entire tackle position is looked upon like a certain offensive lineman.
1. Jason Kelce
My list has been simple. I do not pick current players on the Eagles on the list. There are three exceptions and the top one is Kelce.
Arguably the most transcendent centers in league history, Jason Kelce completely changed the position. Before Kelce, centers were not seen as quick or athletic. Their job was to be big, strong and not mess up snaps. Before Kelce, you would never see a center pull-blocking to the outside. Now? Every center NEEDS to be able to do that.
A 4x First-Team All-Pro, Kelce joined a unique list of centers with more than three All-Pro finishes. Kelce also made five pro-bowls and was a key reason the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017.
Kelce is one of the greatest centers in league history, and one of the greatest players in Eagles history.
This isn’t close.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire