To say that the Philadelphia Eagles are being overlooked has now become a thing of the past. With all of the noise that the front office has made this offseason, it’s safe to say that expectations are at an all-time high. Honestly, this team gives me the same vibes that Andy Reid’s teams once had when they made it to several NFC Championship games.
Still though, with all of the noise and expectations surrounding this group, which of the members are the most important heading into the 2022 season? Lets go with my top five most important players. We’ll start with number five:
5) Marcus Epps
Yes, the young safety made the list. Truly because the Eagles didn’t invest heavily into the safety position. Howie Roseman declared that the organization was very comfortable with their safety group heading into the 2022 season. Sure, they did go out and sign Jaquiski Tartt but don’t let that fool you, Marcus Epps is their guy.
The Eagles have been grooming Epps for this very situation. They knew there would be a time when Rodney McLeod would no longer be an Eagle and let’s be honest, Anthony Harris isn’t who he once was which makes Marcus Epps that much more important. Can Epps follow the great safeties that have paved the way for him or is he just a fill-in for the time being?
Only time will tell.
4) Nakobe Dean
It isn’t fair to put this much pressure on a rookie but Nakobe Dean isn’t your average 3rd round pick. The former Georgia product was a sure-fire first-round pick until draft night arrived and no one understood why he was falling. Many executives blamed it on a lingering injury but the fact of the matter is that Dean is small for his position.
Nakobe Dean will be walking into the 2022 season with a boulder on his shoulder after what happened during the draft. He was once a huge part of a historical college defense and was, most definitely, the best liner backer in the draft but league executives chose to look the other way. Nakobe is also filling in a position that is extremely important for the Philadelphia Eagles. The franchise hasn’t had a great linebacker since DeMeco Ryan.
Is Nakobe Dean the chosen one?
3) Fletcher Cox
The beast that one was can still possibly be. There’s no question that the Eagles and Cox are on the verge of an overdue break-up. Fletcher Cox hasn’t been the disruptive force that he once was over the last several seasons. Now with a more loaded defensive front, due to the signing of Haason Reddick and the drafting of Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox will still be the most important piece on the defensive line. With Hargrave and Davis freeing Cox from double teams, we should see a renaissance season from the Eagles legend.
Fletcher Cox has been on a downward trend since the 2019 season as he has only collected 13.5 sacks since his 10.5 sack season in 2018. He’s also only had 31 QB hits after finishing with 34 in 2018.
Will we see a revival in Fletcher Cox?
2) A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown has single-handedly awakened the Philadelphia Eagles from their grave. After showing out in Tennessee for the last three seasons with a total of 2,995 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns, the former 2nd-round pick was traded to Philadelphia for a bag of peanuts. He was also given an extension for 4 years, $100 million. Talk about commitment. The Eagles refused to make the trade unless they could lock in the stud receiver.
Now with the Eagles, Brown will demand a lot of attention but the hope is that the attention will be on the field and not off of it. Brown has dealt with his recent string of injuries which could’ve led to the Titans not wanting to pay him big money. If Brown is off the field then the Eagles’ pass attack could take a big step backward as his presence alone will allow this offense to truly flourish.
1) Jalen Hurts
How could I not save the best for last? Jalen Hurts is the most important Eagle heading into the 2022 NFL season. Hurts is under an immense amount of pressure as the second-round pick will try to prove that he belongs in the conversation of a franchise QB. Hurts had a good first year starting as his legs proved to be a huge X-factor for the Eagles.
Unfortunately, he will need to rely on his arm now more than ever if the Eagles are going to be contenders. Hurts has to show that he can the guy for the franchise and that he can rely on his arm when the team needs it most. On top of that, Jalen is entering an offseason that is crucial to his career. He will be in the final year of his contract which means the ball will be in the Eagles’ court to decide on his future.
Will the Eagles extend Jalen Hurts or move on after 2022?
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