These preseason NFL lists are pretty popular. Most media outlets do some kind of “top 100” or “top 50” of players where experts come in and rank the guys, or fellow players submit an anonymous ballot of sorts.
ESPN recently dropped their “NFL Rank,” which lists the top-100 league players, and believe it or not, the Eagles have zero players on the list. Not a single one.
Here’s how they completed the exercise:
To create our list, we asked an ESPN panel of more than 50 NFL experts to rate players based on how good they will be in the 2021 season compared to their peers. Emphasis was placed solely on expectations for the upcoming season and predicting potential greatness, rather than past performance, career résumé or positional value. That means long-term injuries, like the one Michael Thomas is dealing with, played a part. From those ratings, we were able to rank the best of the best, 1 to 100.
For each player, our NFL Nation reporters weighed in on his 2021 outlook, provided a signature stat to know and asked a player, coach or executive from the league what makes him so dominant. Then fantasy analyst Mike Clay projected a stat line for this season.
50 NFL experts are smoking crack, because there’s no way that Jason Kelce is not a top-100 NFL player in 2021. Same with Fletcher Cox. The Eagles are coming off a down year, and were hideous in 2020, but even in a transitional season with a young team, there are a handful of veterans that should still be under consideration for these (understandably arbitrary) lists.
For some context, here’s the bottom ten on this list:
- Orlando Brown Jr (100)
- Kevin Byard (99)
- Mark Andrews (98)
- Joe Thuney (97)
- Tristan Wirfs (96)
- J.J. Watt (95)
- Cameron Jordan (94)
- Joel Bitonio (93)
- DJ Moore (92)
- Michael Thomas (91)
Those offensive linemen are good, but they’re not any better than Kelce. You could make a case for Brandon Graham and Lane Johnson on this list, too.
Graham, Cox and Slay came the closest to making the top 100, according to the results from ESPN’s expert panel. Graham deserved the most consideration of the three after posting eight sacks and making his first Pro Bowl in 2020.
For what it’s worth, three Eagles made the NFL’s top 100 list, which involves peer voting. Kelce and Graham were in the 90s and Cox landed at #63. Normally you don’t put a lot of stock in something like this, but to see zero Eagles on the list is FUGAZI.