Two Philadelphia Eagles vets earned some shine recently and rightfully so.
Well, that ‘getting younger’ thing doesn’t seem to be going so well for the Philadelphia Eagles, does it? Ever since vice president and general manager Howie Roseman made that statement, the ‘Birds’ have reacquired three guys that they allowed to walk during the most recent offseason, none of which found a home on another team. They also landed oft-injured Marquise Goodwin via trade during the third day of the most recent NFL Draft.
Goodwin’s opted out of the upcoming 2020 campaign, and to be fair and honest, an old Jason Peters that’s lost his step and is past his prime is still better than most offensive linemen who are several years younger.
Corey Clement and Vinny Curry’s reacquisitions have split some of the fan base, but whether you’re a fan of any of those moves or not, we can all agree on something. Every team needs a nice mix of both young players and veterans, especially when those vets are Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce. Recently, they both made a list constructed by NFL.com’s Ali Bhanpuri and Tom Blair of the top 30 NFL veterans who are over the age of 30. Here’s what’s crazy. Tom Brady didn’t find his way into the top ten.
Here’s the skinny from the experts on two of the greatest Philadelphia Eagles of all time.
For Brandon Graham, it’s been one of the better but more underappreciated careers in NFL history. He never gets the credit that he deserves, so it’s nice to see his inclusion. Can you believe this guy never made a Pro Bowl? He cracks the list at number 24. Here’s what Bhanpuri had to say on the subject.
"Graham has somehow been overlooked for Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in each of his ten pro seasons. In fact, we’re probably guilty of having him too low on this list. The defensive end finished last season ranked number one in stuff percentage (7.3%) and tied T.J. Watt for the eighth-highest disruption rate (13.4perecnt) among all front seven players with a minimum of 400 pass-rushing snaps, per Next Gen Stats. Don’t be fooled by Graham’s lack of splashy traditional stats from last year (just 8.5 sacks) or over his entire career (51)… Trust your eyes. They’ll confirm that he’s one of the best defensive linemen in football."
As you might imagine, Jason Kelce earned a spot on this list as well, but 21st? Eagles fans everywhere demand a recount. Here’s what Blair had to say.
"Centers might have a limited ceiling in terms of star potential, but it helps if you have a personality. And a brother who is also an elite tight end. Oh, and if you’re really good at playing center. Kelce is a three-time Pro Bowler coming off his third straight first-team All-Pro season, ranking as PFF’s top-graded center, both overall and in run-blocking, in 2019. The Eagles’ offensive line is going through some things, with Jason Peters trying to become the first guard 38 or older to start 16 games in the NFL since Ray Brown did it for Detroit in 2003, and second-year pro Andre Dillard seeking to validate his first-round pedigree at left tackle. Kelce, who has missed just four starts over the past seven seasons, will be the rock in the middle."
Part of the criteria for this one was players who won’t be playing in 2020, Brandon Brooks for instance, and players who weren’t able to compete over a significant period of 2019, like Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger, were intentionally excluded.
When you think about things that way, B.G. may not have made the list, furthering the theory that he’s been underappreciated throughout his entire career. That’s another story for another time though.
Both Kelce and Graham have spent every single season of their professional careers in an Eagles jersey. 2020 may be the final run for both of them, so expect them to play major roles in how well things go during the upcoming campaign for this proud franchise.