By Dylan MacKinnon
The Eagles have a much needed bye this week, so there is no game for the numbers to tell the story of. The first 8 games of this season have been tumultuous. Eagles are a unimpressive 3-4-1, but they do also lead the division. The bulk of the commentary on this team has for good reason been negative. And while those negative feelings are merited, I wanted to take the bye to be a bit positive. Lets take a look at 5 numbers that tell the story of 5 particular players’ seasons who deserve praise even if the team itself does not.
Brandon Graham’s Pass Rush Win rate is 22%, per ESPN Stats. That is 8th amongst edge rushers. Even more impressive is that his Run Stop Win rate is 36%, which is tops amongst Edge defenders. He has 7 sacks, which puts him 3rd in the league behind only Myles Garrett and Aaron Donald. There is a strong argument Brandon Graham is the Eagles best player overall. After the Cowboys game I said he deserves more praise, and after getting to look deeper into the numbers, that is even more true. Graham has been a force, and has been one of the elite defensive players in the entire NFL.
Travis Fulgham has averaged 87 yards per game since being activated by the Eagles. He leads the NFL in receiving yards over that time span. This is another player that I already shouted out in the Cowboys game story, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do so again here. He has just been fantastic. Fulgham is everything the Eagles hoped to get in JJ Arcega-Whiteside. In 18 less games than Arcega-Whiteside he has 221 more yards, 17 more catches, and 3 more receiving TDs. Fulgham is the Eagles X Receiver of the future. He has more than proved he belongs at this level.
Most receiving yards in NFL since Week 4 [when Travis Fulgham started playing]— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) November 2, 2020
435 … Travis Fulgham
430 … George Kittle
413 … Tee Higgins
410 … Robby Anderson
407 … Stefan Diggs
403 … Julio Jones
401 … Allen Robinson
383 … T. Kelce
383 … D.K. Metcalf
383 … D.J. Moore
On the season, Darius Slay has allowed only 300 yards on 29 catches and 1 TD, per PFF. He has been pretty much everything promised. He doesn’t have a takeaway yet, which is odd because he made a name for himself as a playmaker, but that may be because QBs don’t throw at him as much. He has been mostly effective at shutting down the opponents number 1 WR. He allowed only 28 yards to the speedy Terry McLaurin, 18 yards to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods week 2, 31 to Tyler Boyd and Aj Green week 3, 21 to George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, and every other week looks pretty much the same. He’s only allowed more than 50 yards once this season. In a poor season, he has certainly been a bright spot.
Jason Kelce ranks 5th in the league with a 75% Run Block Win rate among Centers, per ESPN Stats. With all the turmoil on the line, how much it has struggled with injuries, it is easy to overlook the performance of Jason Kelce. But the 3 time All Pro Center has been steady as ever, has played every snap, and is doing his best with a constantly changing o line around him. He may have different people lined up next to him every week, but he has done his part. Jason Kelce has been the Eagles most consistently great player over the last decade arguably, and that isn’t changing yet in his age 33 year. Who knows how much longer he will be playing, but as long as he still is we should appreciate every snap.
Malik Jackson is tied for the team lead with 11 QB hits. He is another player who has flown under the radar, partly because he hasn’t been completely healthy, also because with the deep D Line he gets overshadowed, but the production is there. He is in the QBs face a ton. If we were giving out the award for comeback player of the year on the Eagles, he’d be the leading candidate so far.