Wentz Among Six Eagles Pro Bowl Selections
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Six Philadelphia Eagles were selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl Tuesday night, headlined by injured quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz, 24, received his first career Pro Bowl honor after leading the NFL with a franchise-record 33 passing touchdowns through 13 games. Wentz becoming just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw 33-plus touchdowns and no more than seven interceptions through 13 games, joining Tom Brady in 2015 (33-6) and 2007 (45-5) and Aaron Rodgers in 2014 (35-3) and 2011 (39-6).
Others selected included Wentz's favorite target, tight end Zach Ertz, as well as two of his bodyguards, right guard Brandon Brooks and right tackle Lane Johnson.
The defensive players honored were DT Fletcher Cox and safety Malcolm Jenkins.
All of the offensive players earned their first Pro Bowl honors while Cox is enjoyed his third straight nod and Malcolm Jenkins receives his second in three years.
Ertz, 27, is the first Eagles tight end named to the Pro Bowl since Chad Lewis from 2001-03. Among NFL tight ends this season, Ertz is tied for second in receiving touchdowns (eight, tied for the most by an Eagles tight end since the 1970 merger) and ranks fourth in receiving yards (719).
“It's rewarding," Ertz admitted. "I think any person wants to see the 'hard work' pay off, but at the end of the day I've had catches and yards and touchdowns before but I've never had a team like this. The ultimate goal is to win football games in this league. If you don't win, nothing really matters. That's what's been so rewarding this year. I've been a really big contributor on a really good football team. I think that whole process has been really fulfilling.”
Brooks, 28, and Johnson, 27, anchor the best right side of an offensive line in the NFL and one that has helped the Eagles produce the NFL’s top-scoring offense (28.6 offensive points per game) and the NFC’s leading rushing attack (140.5 yards per game) this season.
“I was excited but I come from a unit where we all are straight brothers," Brooks said. "So it’s not like an individual accolade. It’s (offensive line coach Jeff) Stoutland coaching me up, getting me right, refining my technique and things like that. Playing alongside Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce helps tremendously and Carson (Wentz) playing well and making plays. So although it’s kind of an individual honor I wouldn’t be able to do it without playing in between these two guys and guys making plays in the backfield too.”
Johnson was also thrilled to get his first honor:
“It’s been one of my goals to be called one of the best in the world at what you do, so it’s pretty special.”
Cox, 27, is becoming a regular at this with his third straight nod, joining Charlie Johnson (1980-82) and Floyd Peters (1965, 1967-68) as the only Eagles defensive tackles with at least three Pro Bowl honors.
Cox has produced the second-most sacks (34.0) ever by an Eagles interior defensive lineman and currently ranks fourth among NFC defensive tackles with 5 1/2 sacks.
Jenkins, 29, is back after a one-year absence. A versatile player Jenkins currently leads Philadelphia with 107 tackles (75 solo), including nine for a loss, which marks his fourth-consecutive season with 100-plus tackles. Jenkins also has 12 passes defensed, two interceptions and one sack this season.
Others deserving but overlooked include defensive end Brandon Graham, center Jason Kelce and special teams stalwart Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Those three players were named as alternates, however, as were cornerback Jalen Mills, receiver Alshon Jeffery and rookie kicker Jake Elliott.
The 2018 Pro Bowl returns to Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Jan. 28, the week before the Super Bowl meaning none of the Eagles selected actually want to play in the game.
The players selected from the Super Bowl participants will be replaced.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen