Eagles center Jason Kelce and cornerback Darius Slay are headed to the Pro Bowl.
The NFL announced the rosters for the league’s all-star game in Las Vegas set for Feb. 6, and the two veterans were among those honored.
It’s Kelce’s fifth Pro Bowl selection and Slay’s fourth, but his first as an Eagle.
Kelce, 34, has been selected three straight years and holds the record for most Pro Bowls for an Eagles center. He’s made 119 consecutive starts and has made several highlight blocks in space this season. Kelce is the third-best center in the league this season according to Pro Football Focus, earning a 85.1 offensive grade.
Kelce’s play as the focal point of one of the most dominant offensive lines in the league is especially impressive when you consider the instability around him. The Eagles’ line has been healthier than it was a year before, but it has had several different starting combinations at guard. Kelce started the year flanked by Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo, but Brooks has missed nearly the entire year with a strained pectoral muscle and Seumalo is out for the season with a Lisfranc foot injury. The line also lost right tackle Lane Johnson for three games for mental-health reasons.
Reserve guard Jack Driscoll also went on injured reserve earlier this month and Landon Dickerson missed last Tuesday’s game because he was on the COVID list. The line has continued to be one of the best in the league through it all, thanks largely to Kelce’s presence in the middle.
While his games-started streak might suggest otherwise, Kelce has dealt with his own injuries this season. He missed part of the Eagles’ Week 12 loss to the Giants with a knee injury but eventually returned, to his teammates and coaches’ surprise.
“I can’t say enough good things about him,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said the week after that game. “Not only do I think he’s one of the best offensive linemen that I’ve ever been around — and I’ve been around some good offensive linemen — I also think he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever been around.
“They should do a case study on him to see what makes him this tough,” Sirianni added. “He’s so tough, and our team feeds off that. I think we have a tough team. And why do you have a tough team? You have a tough team because the leadership of the main guys on your team, and it starts with him.”
The Eagles’ defense has struggled at times this season, but Slay has been one of the most productive cornerbacks in the league. The 30-year-old has three interceptions, four pass breakups, and has scored three touchdowns on turnovers this season. Slay had a pick-six against the New Orleans Saints and returned fumbles for scores against the Detroit Lions and the Denver Broncos.
Slay has lived up to the expectations the Eagles had for him when they traded two mid-round picks to the Detroit Lions for him before the 2020 season. He played well last year, but has been even better in 2021.
Even though the Eagles have favored zone coverage schemes with new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Slay has still followed receivers and allowed the team to use more man coverage in certain matchups effectively.
Ten teams have one or no players named to the team. Among them were the New York Giants, who were shut out.
The Indianapolis Colts had a league-high seven players selected: running back Jonathan Taylor, center Ryan Kelly, guard Quinton Nelson, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore, and long snapper Luke Rhodes.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (Archbishop Wood) made the team as a rookie.
The roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches, with each group’s vote counting one-third toward determining the 88 honorees.