Like most NFL players, LeSean McCoy has dreamed about making it to the Hall of Fame since the day he was drafted by the Eagles in 2009.
While Canton hardly is assured for the 31-year-old running back, he’ll likely get a big boost in a couple of weeks when the league releases its All-Decade team (2010-2019).
McCoy, who is 22nd in career rushing yards with 11,071, is expected to be a first-team All-Decade selection.
He was one of three first-team running backs on my ballot along with Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.
McCoy, who spent six years with the Eagles before his shocking 2014 trade to Buffalo by Chip Kelly for linebacker Kiko Alonso, had six 1,000-yard seasons in the last decade, including four with the Eagles. He led the NFL in rushing in 2013 with 1,607 yards and put up 1,309 the next year before Kelly dealt him.
McCoy is one of just two Eagles on my first-team All-Decade unit. The other is Darren Sproles, who made it as a punt returner.
Five Eagles, including three offensive linemen – tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce, and guard Brandon Brooks – are on my second-team along with tight end Zach Ertz and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Sproles, who announced his retirement in January, averaged 9.9 yards per return and had six returns for touchdowns from 2010 to 2019. In six seasons with the Eagles, he averaged 11.7 yards per return. He led the NFL in punt return average in 2014, which was his first season with the Eagles, and averaged eight yards or better seven times in the decade.
Peters and Cox likely are the two first-team snubs that are going to draw the most disagreement from fans. Peters probably is going to make the Hall of Fame. As one of the Hall’s 48 selectors, he’ll get my vote.
Howard Mudd, who was Andy Reid’s offensive line coach in 2011-12, has said Peters is every bit as good as Walter Jones, whom he coached in Seattle and got into Canton in his first year of eligibility.
But Peters had an uneven decade, partly because of injuries that limited him to seven games in 2017, when the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and 2012, when an Achilles tear wiped out the entire season.
He also had a couple of sub-par years in 2015 and 2018, also largely due to injuries. Peters is a nine-time Pro Bowler but hasn’t been a first- or second-team All-Pro selection since 2014.
I don’t mean to knock Peters. Like I said, he’ll be getting my Hall of Fame vote. But he was my fourth-rated tackle of this decade, behind Joe Thomas, David Bakhtiari, and, the choice that is going to rankle Eagles fans, Tyron Smith.
At defensive tackle, my three first-team choices ahead of Cox were Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, and Ndamukong Suh. Donald is head and shoulders above the rest of the group.
Atkins hasn’t gotten the recognition he has deserved during his career because he has played for the Bengals. But if you talk to interior offensive linemen in the league, Atkins, an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All Pro, is the guy they mention the most after Donald.
He’s a perfect blend of strength and quickness. His numbers are better than Cox’s in almost every category. He averaged 7.55 sacks, 17.1 quarterback hits, and 10 tackles for losses per year in the last decade. Cox, who was drafted two years after Atkins, has averaged 6.0 sacks, 15.1 quarterback hits and 7.75 tackles for losses.
Picking Suh over Cox was a tougher call. It could have gone either way, and maybe I’m using a harsher grading system on Cox because I cover him every day.
They’re both dominant players that have dealt with constant double teams their entire careers. Sackwise, their annual numbers are almost identical. But Suh has averaged slightly more more quarterback hits (18.0) and tackles for losses (11.4) per year than Cox.
Both have shown an ability to excel in different schemes. Cox had 10½ sacks two years ago in Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 defense and 9½ in 2015 in Bill Davis’ 3-4.
I guess I ended up giving Suh an extra point or two because he has played for four teams in the decade and has had to adapt as he moved from the Lions to the Dolphins and from the Dolphins to the Rams and from the Rams to the Bucs.
And yes, I realize he was playing next to Donald during his one-year stint with the Rams.
First-team (2): Tom Brady, Drew Brees | Second-team (2): Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson
First-team (3): Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch | Second-team (3): Frank Gore, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles
First-team WR (3): Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones | Second-team: DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green
First-team: Matt Forte | Second-team: Le’Veon Bell
First-team: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce | Second-team: Jason Witten, Zach Ertz
First-team: Joe Thomas, David Bakhtiari, Tyron Smith | Second-team (3): Joe Staley, Jason Peters, Andrew Whitworth
First-team (3): Jahri Evans, Zack Martin, Marshal Yanda | Second-team (3): Logan Mankins, Brandon Brooks, David DeCastro
First-team (2): Maurkice Pouncey, Alex Mack | Second-team (2): Jason Kelce, Travis Frederick
First-team DE (3): J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell, Chandler Jones. | Second-team: Khalil Mack, Cameron Jordan, Cameron Wake
First-team DT (3): Geno Atkins, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh | Second-team: Fletcher Cox, Gerald McCoy, Haloti Ngata
First-team LB (4): Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, NaVorro Bowman. | Second-team: Lavonte David, Patrick Willis, Justin Houston, C.J. Mosley
First-team CB (3): Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis | Second-team: Stephon Gilmore, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib
First-team S (3): Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle | Second-team: Harrison Smith, Devin McCourty, Kam Chancellor
First-team DB (1): Chris Harris. | Second-team: Tyrann Mathieu
First-team PK (1): Justin Tucker. | Second-team: Stephen Gostkowski
First-team P (1): Johnny Hekker. | Second-team: Brett Kern
First-team PR (1): Darren Sproles. | Second-team: Devin Hester
First-team KR (1) Cordarrelle Patterson. | Second-team: Jacoby Jones
First-team: Bill Belichick | Second-team: Pete Carroll