For over the last half decade or so, one of the biggest complaints about the Eagles franchise has been their lack of young, high end talent. However, over the past few seasons, the team has drafted and traded for a number of young players that have already had an impact.
This list will rank the top 5 players on this Eagles team who are 25 years of age or younger. The only other rule is that the players cannot be rookies, as it’s not really fair to rank a player who has never played professionally before. While these players are very young in their football careers, they still have significant roles on this team.
#1 A.J. Brown
Finally, at number 1 on the list, ranks the shiniest new toy in the offense, A.J. Brown. The former Tennessee Titan was sent to the Eagles in a blockbuster draft trade. The Eagles immediately followed that up by giving him a 4-year, $100 million contract extension that takes him into the 2026 season. Howie Roseman could not have hit a bigger home run than that.
In one night, the Eagles completely revamped their passing game with one of the top wide receiver talents in the entire league. Brown spent almost all of his time in Tennessee as the no doubt number one option, but in Philadelphia, he has DeVonta Smith lined up next to him, so he could flourish even more with less attention being given to him at all times.
When the trade first happened, it occurred to me that A.J. could be the most skilled receiver to ever wear midnight green, at least since Terrell Owens. Hopefully this does not end up like that situation but Brown already has his big contract so I don’t feel like this is a scenario of the drama receiver coming to town.
The statistics back up this line of thought as well, as he has grown to be a consensus top-10 option in the National Football League. Over his first 3 seasons, Brown has amassed a total of 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns. That stretch could be considered the best years of other receivers careers, but Brown is just coming into his own in this league and has done this.
Some argue that the offensive weapon had a down year in 2021 but if you look closer, that is not the case at all. In 13 games, he gained 869 yards, the lowest mark of his career. In 2020, he set a career high in yards per season with 1,075 in 14 games.
If Brown had managed to play the entire 17 game schedule, he would have been on track to set a new career high in yards per season. He can catch the ball in all three phases of the field; short, intermediate and deep, and has not had a major problem with drops, a thing Eagles fans are not really used to. A.J. Brown is the type of elite, playmaking wide receiver that the Eagles just do not have a very good history of having.
Brown walks into the practice facility and immediately changes the entire complexion of the team, and he hasn’t even played a single down yet. Many Eagles fans have learned to be cautious about getting excited for big offseason additions, but Brown has the talent and resume of someone that should be a lock to be a star here. The birds swung big for the fences and with A.J. Brown, they hit a homerun that could be a franchise cornerstone for the rest of the decade.
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire