Training camp approaches for the Philadelphia Eagles and expectations are all over the place. Some believe Jalen Hurts will do nothing. Others believe he will be fine. Some think this is a throwaway season for the Birds. Others believe that they could surprise a few people. Before we answer any of those arguments are settled, something will have to happen first. Philly’s got to put a roster together.
Everyone has their guesses about what that final unit will look like. Inside The Iggles has even tossed out a few theories, but for the most part, we’ve identified who the starters are.
The Eagles have a nice mix of young guns and grizzled veterans to lean on in 2021 but don’t go blowing the trumpets yet. Remember when everyone thought that Fletcher Cox was the second-best defensive tackle in the game? Has anyone else noticed that we’re hearing that less and less these days?
There were more than a few NFL pundits who already thought that Chris Jones on the Kansas City Chiefs had passed him on the ladder of success, but after speaking to more than 50 NFL executives, coaches, scouts, and some of Cox’s peers, ESPN Staff Writer Jeremy Fowler recently dropped a ranking of the NFL’s top 10 interior defensive linemen. Cox came in fifth after Donald, Jones, DeForest Buckner, and Cam Heyward.
You know what? That might be pretty accurate. It’s hard to call Cox the game’s second-best defensive tackle now. Oh, and how about this? Recently, one very trusted voice in the Eagles community labeled two more of Philly’s most popular players as the most overrated guy on offense and defense.
Would Philadelphia Eagles fans agree that Darius Slay and Miles Sanders are overrated?
If you pay attention to everything that’s said about the Philadelphia Eagles in the news, then, you, no doubt, know who Brandon Lee Gowton is. Recently, on Bleeding Green Nation, he shared his thoughts on who the most overrated Birds are on both offense and defense. Miles Sanders earned the dubious honor of being the offensive star fans may want to pump the breaks on. On defense, Gowton advises that we all dig a little deeper in our analysis of Darius Slay.
Here’s some of Gowton’s justification of both statements. We begin with some of his take on Boobie.
"By no means am I “out” on the Eagles’ third-year running back. I just think the perception of him tends to be greater than the reality. Sanders was an explosive runner last season with 5.6 yards per carry. But his struggles as a pass catcher and pass protector were troubling. Sanders’ fumble rate (one for every 48 touches) was the worst in the league among qualified running backs. Sanders admitted his struggles after the season so there’s reason to believe the 24-year-old will be working hard to bounce back."
Here’s what was said about Slay, just in case you missed it:
"Before going any further, I feel the need to add a disclaimer here. “Overrated” does NOT necessarily mean “bad.” I am NOT saying Slay sucks. I am saying I’m not quite sure he’s as good as he’s rated to be… Admittedly, Slay prevented the 2020 Eagles from being absolutely murdered by number-one wide receivers on a weekly basis like the 2019 Eagles were, but I’m missing how he was anything resembling an elite corner last year. We all saw how D.K. Metcalf and Davante Adams ate his lunch. Slay finished his first season in Philly with just one interception, six passes defensed, and a 111.9 passer rating allowed when targeted. He certainly didn’t do anything to transform the team’s pass defense, which actually ranked worse in 2020 than it did in 2019 (in terms of both DVOA and opponent yards per pass attempt)."
If we’re being objective, Brandon Lee Gowton is right. Slay was good, just not as good as we expected him to be. Some of that has to be placed at the doorstep of the Philadelphia Eagles’ brass though.
Philly has to find a ‘Robin’ for Darius Slay’s ‘Batman’. They have a few options, none of which we’re sold on, and if they don’t take Big Play’s advice and make a move by adding some help, the best options might be to trot Avonte Maddox back out on the field or to place their faith in a rookie that they landed in Round 4.
As far as Sanders goes, the 2020-2021 regular season showed us a few chinks in the armor, but that’s okay. He’ll improve. Let’s just hope that some of Philly’s recent moves, drafting Kenneth Gainwell for instance, gives him a few healthy complements that help keep him fresh throughout the regular season. As every Birds fan knows, there were several instances in which Miles Sanders looked like he needed a day off.