McMullen on the Eagles: Friday Stock Watch
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - We now have at least a representative sample size for the 2015 Eagles season so it's time to break out our stock watch and identify who the bulls and bears have been on this team.
The eye in the sky never lies and reputation can so previous success or prior accolades are not considered in these rankings which are representative of Philadelphia's first three games of the season and nothing else.
It's also limited to the players who have been on the field on a consistent basis as it's stipulated that the deep reserves and special teams players aren't at the level of the starters and key backups.
With that said, after digesting the All-22 in each of the three encounters, here are the best 10 Eagles players so far in '15 (the bulls) and the 10 who are struggling the most (the bears):
(Listen to John McMullen discuss the Eagles Stock Report)
10. - Jordan Hicks - The rookie inside linebacker has been a godsend after injuries to Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks, putting up significant production in just under 150 snaps.
9. - Andrew Gardner - Yep, despite what you've heard, Gardner was what Chip Kelly said he was before injuring his foot, consistent. The now sidelined right guard has been the Eagles only really good run-blocker early in the season.
8. - Jason Peters - After an uneven start, the veteran All-Pro has settled down and started to look like himself, especially in pass protection.
7. - Bennie Logan - Logan looked like a world-beater in the preseason and that's carried over as a run stopper. He would be higher on this list if his inside push as a pass rusher was better.
6. - Darren Sproles - One of the toughest matchups in football, Sproles is a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators when coming out of the backfield as a receiver. The 32-year-old also remains one of the best punt returners in football as evidenced by his magical 89-yard return against the Jets, which could have saved the season.
5. - Lane Johnson - One of only four offensive players who has played every snap so far, Johnson had been dominant in pass protection and if he can ever elevate his run blocking to that level, you're talking about a Pro-Bowl level player.
4. - Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins is the leader of the defensive backfield and has been given even more responsibility this season, often being asked to drop down to the slot in nickel situations. He's handled it like a true pro and played at a high level.
3. - Nolan Carroll - From the start of OTAs, the Eagles' coaches raved about Carroll's offseason and it's carried over. The former Miami starter, who couldn't get on the field last season despite Bradley Fletcher's struggles, has been Philadelphia's best pure cover corner and much better than the $63 million-dollar man, Byron Maxwell.
2. - Walter Thurmond - Pro Football Focus has Thurmond rated as the second best safety in all of football behind Minnesota playmaker Harrison Smith and while that's probably a little much, the ex-cornerback has been spectacular for the Eagles and given the team the ball skills that Nate Allen lacked.
The Best - Fletcher Cox - Thought to be the best Eagles player entering the 2015 season, Cox has lived up to the billing, doing everything Billy Davis wants from the five-technique.
10. - DeMarco Murray - The numbers tell the story and the NFL's reigning rushing kick is clearly not comfortable in Kelly's preferred shotgun, offset look.
9. - Kiko Alonso - Kiko played in about 70 snaps before his most recent knee injury and was getting trucked in the run game.
8. - Riley Cooper - Cooper has been nonexistent in the passing game and just run of the mill at what he's supposed to excel at, blocking.
7. - Brent Celek - At this stage, blocking is also supposed to be Celek's strength but the veteran tight end has failed to get it done in two of the three games.
6. - Jason Kelce - Athleticism has always defined Kelce and opposing defensive coordinators have been using big bodies on his nose to hamper the Pro Bowl center's ability to get to the second level.
5. - DeMeco Ryans - The explosion just hasn't been there for Ryans as he attempts to return from a ruptured Achilles. Give Ryans credit for being out there and his leadership is important but right now the physical decline has been noticeable.
4. - Byron Maxwell - Maxwell is a good, not great zone corner. When Davis leaves him on the island, the former junior member of the Legion of Boom has been lost more often than not.
3. - Nelson Agholor - Mini-Maclin has been anything but. The rookie has been unable to get separation at this level and his failure to get open on a consistent basis has Sam Bradford eliminating him from the progression tree.
2. - Sam Bradford - If you are looking for three adjectives to describe Bradford so far, it's inaccurate, unsure and skittish.
Back of the Line - Allen Barbre - The Eagles acted like Barbre was an entrenched starter during the preseason but the journeyman has played like ... well, a journeyman. He's especially struggled as a run blocker where he has often been overmatched and led to so many of Philadelphia's negative plays early in the season.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen