Eagles barely avoid being snubbed on a ranking of top young NFL players

Last season's ninth overall selection prevents the Eagles from being shut out of a ranking of the NFL's top 25 players who are under 25.
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Just for kicks, we want you to think about something for a second. Something tells us that we aren't alone in this. How many of you try to vote for as many Philadelphia Eagles as possible when the Pro Bowl ballot is released?

Fear not! You aren't alone. That's a natural side effect that comes from loving a football team. You've probably already heard that Birds fans are zany. Here's the thing though. That isn't where it ends.

Nurture your love affair with your favorite team long enough, and you'll find yourselves going crazy over snubs, power rankings, and unfair criticism. Pro Football Focus released an intriguing read to begin the week, and something jumped out at us immediately.

The Eagles barely avoid being left off a PFF ranking of some exceptional young NFL stars.

If you have free time and are perusing the internet for reading material, check out PFF's Ranking the top 25 players under 25 entering the 2024 NFL season'. This one's certainly worth a glance, but as mentioned, we noticed something almost immediately.

Philly barely avoids the snub. Jalen Carter is the only Bird to receive a mention, and he isn't mentioned before cracking the list at 22.

Here's what Zoltán Buday, the author of this one, wrote as part of his reason for saying so.

"Off-field issues likely led to Carter sliding in the 2023 NFL Draft as the ninth-overall pick, because on the field he was among the better players at his position from Week 1.

Carter picked up nine quarterback pressures in his very first game against the Patriots, which was tied for the second most in an outing by a rookie all season. In the end, he earned an 87.4 PFF overall grade, which ranked sixth among interior defenders."

Rankings must always be taken with a grain of salt. They're mostly for entertainment. Dig too deep, and you might begin to drive yourself crazy. The point is to initiate conversation and/or debate.

Speaking of 'debate', we have a question. Are there no other Birds who deserve to be mentioned? Should that be taken as a sign of weak Eagles draft classes? Are we seeing bad coaching and the inability to develop young talent? Maybe injuries have slowed guys down? A stacked roster perhaps? Maybe guys simply haven't stepped up to the plate?

We'd venture to say that, truthfully, we can find examples of each scenario. But, here's a theory that is both factual and free of overreaction. There are 32 NFL franchises. Pro football is loaded with young stars. Rest easy when you lie down tonight. The Birds' future is bright. There's no need to worry.

Youngsters will continue to improve. Many guys that fans have been given up on will enjoy breakout seasons. We truly believe that. We expect guys like Nakobe Dean to turn the corner even if no one else believes in him.

We're also expecting breakout seasons from some of the familiar faces and at least one or two fantastic first impressions from what will be an exciting rookie class. In other words, there will be more Eagles on this list next season and hopefully some perennial Pro Bowlers among the bunch.

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