The clock is about to turn on a new decade at midnight. It was a great 10 years of Eagles football, too.
Sure, it took the boys in midnight green eight years into the decade — and some 52 odd years, in total — to finally raise the Lombardi Trophy but they did it. And they did it in both thrilling and dramatic fashion to (kind of) justify the wait.
Many legendary players came and went during that span, intermingled with a good chunk of disappointing busts and failed experiments. It’s all water under the bridge. Let’s take a look at the greatest players at each position since 2010.
One important note: Donovan McNabb left Philadelphia at the turn of the decade so you won’t see his name anywhere. The same goes for Brian Dawkins who left in 2009. Yes, the list might have a few underwhelming names but all in all it’s indicative of the life of a Philly sports fan.
Eagles All-Decade Team: Offense
Personally, I have covered the Eagles for almost two decades so these guys helped nurture and grow me as a sportswriter. This is what I came up with.
Quarterback: Carson Wentz
Since Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins in 2010, there are really only two other names to even bring into the conversation: Nick Foles and Michael Vick. Give me Wentz. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft wowed everyone in his first two seasons, especially during his MVP campaign in 2017 that ended with a torn ACL.
Wentz has been the best player at the position for the Eagles since 2010. He has accumulated 14,191 passing yards and 97 touchdowns while leading Philadelphia to a 32-24 record. Wentz recently established franchise records for passing yards in a single season and completions in a single season. If you want to hold the injuries against him, go ahead. We aren’t.
Running Back: LeSean McCoy
This one isn’t up for debate. McCoy was the shiftiest and speediest rusher to ever wear midnight green — and that includes Steve Van Buren, Wilbert Montgomery or whatever other fossils you want to dig up. His 6,792 rushing yards ranks No.1 in franchise history and he accomplished it in only 90 games. McCoy deserved to retire as an Eagle but the little tyrant (Chip Kelly) couldn’t stand his swagger. It’s a crying shame for the “shady” kid from Harrisburg, PA.
Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant
You can make an argument for replacing Avant with either Nelson Agholor or Jordan Matthews. Not here. Avant’s contributions on special teams lock down the third receiver spot solely for that lights-out hit he made to spring Jackson for the “Miracle in the Meadowlands 2.” We could watch that play on loop. He also racked up 3,646 career receiving yards. Speaking of Jackson, the speedy receiver ranks fourth all-time in franchise receiving yards (6,276) while Maclin ranks 10th all-time in franchise receiving yards (4,771).
Tight Ends: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek
Are we cheating by selecting two guys at tight end? Maybe. But the Eagles have traditionally run a slew of two tight-end sets going back to the days of Andy Reid. Celek is a fan favorite who made a name for himself by bulldozing over defenders and providing key blocks in the screen game.
He played 10 seasons in Philadelphia and finished with 4,998 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Ertz may go down as one of the greatest tight ends to play in the NFL. He set a new high for receptions in 2018 with 116 and already ranks fifth all-time on the franchise’s receiving list (5,743).
Offensive Line: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson
When an All-Decade Team starts with a Hall-of-Fame left tackle, you know it’s a great list. The Eagles have long valued strong offensive-line play and they are consistently among the best in the NFL.
Brooks is arguably the best right guard in football. Ditto for Kelce at center. Ditto for Johnson at right tackle. Mathis? Well, the former journeyman left guard played in Philadelphia for only four seasons yet qualified for two Pro Bowls. Not too shabby. (Apologies to Todd Herremans for missing the final cut).
Eagles All-Decade Team: Defense
It’s really hard to assign positions to players when looking back at the Eagles’ defenses from 2010 to 2020 due to changes in schemes. They ping-ponged from a 4-3 under Andy Reid to a 3-4 under Chip Kelly back to a 4-3 under Doug Pederson.
For example, Brandon Graham started his career as a linebacker before sliding over to defensive end. Instead, we are selecting five pass-rushers and two linebackers to fill out this roster. The cream of the crop.
Pass-Rushers: Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry
That’s 234 total sacks between five players. Cole’s 85.5 in 10 years in Philadelphia (2005-2014) is the chart-topper as he ranks second all-time in franchise history behind Reggie White. Cox, Graham and Curry continue to pile up numbers since they remain on the Eagles’ current roster. Barwin announced his retirement earlier this year.
Linebackers: Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans
It’s been slim pickings at linebacker, other than Jeremiah Trotter, over the years for the Eagles. The franchise just never seemed to value the position. However, Kendricks and Ryans were adequate and helped stuff the middle during their stints in Philly. Ryans had 334 combined tackles in four seasons, while Kendricks had 454 in six seasons.
Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod
The Eagles severely neglected the safety position after Brian Dawkins’ unceremonious exit in 2009. They trotted out many disappointing experiments, including Nate Allen, Patrick Chung and Kurt Coleman. Then, they made a trade for Malcolm Jenkins in 2014 and everything was right with the world.
Jenkins has been the glue of the defense, thanks to his play and leadership. He has 11 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, 498 tackles, plus four touchdowns in six seasons. More impressively, he has played on 99-percent of the snaps since 2014 and 100-percent over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, McLeod has proven to be a steady and calming influence in the secondary.
Cornerbacks: Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
This is an indictment of the lack of skilled corners to come through the city. Samuel is a borderline Hall-of-Famer (51 career interceptions, 23 in Eagles green) but he only played four total seasons in Philly and was only here for the first two years of the decade. Rodgers-Cromartie was a victim of circumstance after the Eagles brought in Nnamdi Asomugha. He never got a fair shake.
Follow the Heavy Philadelphia Eagles page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!