The Eagles are going to look very different in 2021. The completely new coaching staff and a brand new starting quarterback. A lot of the Eagles’ top players will still be on the team though in 2021. We know who the Eagles’ top players are, but which one of them will have the best season in 2021?
Honorable Mention: Lane Johnson
When talking about the Eagles’ top players on the roster it is hard to leave Lane Johnson off that list. Lane is one of, if not the, best right tackles in the game. Lane battled through a nagging ankle injury all last year that had him playing through pain and also had him missing some games. The injury history is the big question with Lane. When he is healthy he is one of the top linemen in the NFL, he just had trouble staying healthy last year. If Lane can stay healthy next year then he will easily be a top-five player on the team, but it is just hard to think he will be able to right now.
5. DeVonta Smith
The Eagles traded up to get their guy at number ten, and I don’t think he disappoints in 2021. Smith comes in and will immediately be the wide receiver one for the Eagles and Jalen Hurts. Smith is getting praise from everybody in the Eagles organization. Coaches, players, former players, and the fans. Even though he is just a rookie, I think Smith will be one of the best Eagles on the team in 2021. Smith will lead the receiving core and will be one of the focal points of the offense. Everything Smith does on the field is smooth, and I expect him to go over 1,000 yards this season for the first time since 2014. It is usually bold to predict a rookie to have one of the best seasons on the team, but I have full confidence in DeVonta Smith.
4. Dallas Goedert
Dallas is currently in negotiations for a contract extension with the Eagles, and I think he will have a big 2021 to help those contract talks. With Ertz presumably on his way out any time now, it is Goedert that will now be the starting tight end. Goedert is already a top ten tight end and by the end of 2021, I think his name begins to be talked about in the top five. Some people already have Goedert as a top-five in the position, but that could be debatable. Goedert only played in 11 games last year but he was still one of the Eagles’ top offensive players. If Goedert can stay healthy, then he can easily get into the 800 or 900 receiving yard conversation. Goedert is one of the most skilled players on the Eagles. He makes a lot of plays for the Eagles and their offense, and I am expecting a lot of that in 2021. It is going to be fun to see how Goedert and Hurts build chemistry throughout the season.
3. Jason Kelce
The heart and soul of the Eagles offensive line seems to be nearing the end of his great Eagles career. Even with his age, Kelce is still one of the top players on the Eagles, and one of the top linemen in the league. PFF has Kelce ranked as the 5th best center heading into the 2021 season. Kelce leads the line for the Eagles. He isn’t the biggest or strongest, but he is tough and has great technique on the line. Kelce will once again be one of the biggest leaders in the locker room this season and will have the job of grooming and teaching Landon Dickerson to prepare him to be his replacement. There have been rumors surrounding Kelce and retiring the last couple of years and this surely seems like it will be his last year. Even heading into his age 34 season, Kelce is still going to be one of the most dependent and best players on the roster along with being an ultimate fan favorite.
2. Fletcher Cox
Now turning to the defensive side of the ball. The man in the middle who eats double and triple teams all game, Fletcher Cox. After another Pro Bowl nomination last year, Cox is going to come back in 2021 for another. With a loaded defensive line ready to anchor the team, Cox will be the major force of that unit. You can see when Fletch takes over games. He’ll be in the backfield almost every snap causing chaos and havoc for offensive lines and QBs. There has been speculation this offseason about Fletcher Cox and his future with the team, but the Eagles would be flat-out stupid to get rid of him. Cox is up there with Aaron Donald and Chris Jones as the top interior linemen in the league, and getting rid of him helps nothing. I think Fletch comes back with a huge year next year to anchor the team. If Fletch can have a big year and then you factor in all the other defensive linemen then opposing offenses may be in trouble.
1. Brandon Graham
Coming off his first-ever Pro Bowl season, Graham is looking to improve on another stellar season. Graham has always been a very good player, but he finally got that first Pro Bowl last year. Graham only had 8 sacks, but his play goes well beyond the stats. One of the best run defenders off the edge and always applying constant pressure to the QB, Graham is one of the most underrated players in the league. Graham was one of the Eagles’ best players last year, and I expect him to be the best player in 2021. In the final year of his contract, Graham wants to show he still has some good play left in the tank. I think Graham gets over 10 sacks and is the most consistent player for the Eagles next season.
There are several other players who could have been on this list. Miles Sanders, Darius Slay, and Brandon Brooks are just three examples. The Eagles are going to need their youth to shine this year so I am expecting big seasons from Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Jason Kelce are the three best players on the team, it is just a matter of how you rank them. The list can be twisted and turned into a lot of different ways so it will be interesting to see how right this list was at the end of the year.
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