The most difficult decision on an Eagles All-Decade team comes at the most important position. With all due respect to Sam Bradford and his completion percentage, it’s a three-man race in which no answer is correct.
Deciding among 2017 Carson Wentz, 2010 Michael Vick, or 2013 Nick Foles isn’t easy. Both Wentz and Vick looked like the best player in the NFL for a brief moment and Foles’ 27-touchdown, 2-interception season is noteworthy even before you consider he carried a Lombardi Trophy down Broad Street.
If I were building a team, I’m going with Vick. As he almost always does, Vick has the edge in talent, and his production in 2010 compares with Wentz’s best year admirably.
Unlike the rest of the Eagles beat team, I was a teenager at the start of the decade and spent the majority of it nervously watching Eagles games with my father instead of in a press box. I’ve seen every game, though. Maybe even more than a handful of them I’ve seen twice.
I decided to prioritize peak seasons over total bodies of work, which explains why Alshon Jeffery is my third receiver, edging Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor.
I used the term “edge rusher” so I could include Connor Barwin, who was a linebacker in a 3-4 with the Eagles but would have his hand in the dirt on my fake team, which runs a 4-3. Did Jason Babin cross my mind? Sure, but even that peak season wasn’t enough to oust any of the selections.
Linebacker was the second-hardest decision to make after quarterback. Although the position hasn’t featured all-time greats for the Eagles, there were four worthy choices for three spots. The decision came between Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks.
Bradham has the advantage in Super Bowl contributions and durability, but Hicks had a five-interception season in 2016. After Hicks went down in 2017, Bradham stepped up and was pivotal for the title run. Still, for my build-a-roster, I’m taking the guy who creates turnovers.
I took a beat to consider Brandon Boykin vs. Patrick Robinson. I decided to go with Robinson’s 2017 excellence over Boykin’s overall body of work.
Cody Parkey would be a valid choice at kicker, but Jake Elliott’s got the longest field goal in team history, as well as the most important ones in 2017. I had a signed photo of David Akers in my room as a kid, but his 2010 season wasn’t good enough. Sorry, David.
I thought hard about putting DeSean Jackson as my punt returner, but it’s close between him and Darren Sproles, and Sproles deserves to be on this team somewhere.
Unsurprisingly, the group’s strength is in the trenches. The Eagles went 87-73 in 160 regular-season games and made the playoffs five times in the decade. The consistent success is largely thanks to the offensive and defensive fronts.
The offensive line has one surefire Hall of Famer in Jason Peters and at least one making a case to follow in Jason Kelce. The defensive group has Fletcher Cox at the head, with a solid rotation of edge rushers and Bennie Logan clogging things up adjacent to Cox.
QB: Michael Vick
RB: LeSean McCoy
WR: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Alshon Jeffery
TE: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek
LT: Jason Peters
LG: Evan Mathis
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Brandon Brooks
RT: Lane Johnson
Edge Rusher: Brandon Graham, Trent Cole, Connor Barwin
DT: Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan
LBs: Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Jordan Hicks
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod
CB: Asante Samuel, Patrick Robinson
K: Jake Elliott
P: Donnie Jones
PR: Darren Sproles
KR: Josh Huff