Three Eagles’ Land on PFF’s Top 50 List for 2020 Season
Long-time Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has been listed among not only the best players at his position, but in the entire NFL per Pro Football Focus.
The website ranked Cox the 15th-best player in the NFL, regardless of position, going into the 2020 season. He was ahead of some notable defensive standouts like, Chris Jones, (16), Bobby Wagner, (17), and Khalil Mack (18).
He was also ranked fifth among all defensive players. The Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald was No. 1 on the list, while Stephon Gilmore, J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, all ranked ahead of Cox.
Aaron Donald exists in a world of his own, but there are a number of other interior defensive linemen who are vying for the title of the best in the league not named Donald. Fletcher Cox is the best power pass-rusher in the NFL. His ability to overwhelm physically dominant offensive linemen is unique, and it has led him to some truly spectacular seasons. Over the past three seasons, Cox has 202 total pressures — the second most in the league among interior pass rushers — and the sixth most in the league among all players. He is a wrecking machine inside for the Eagles.
While Cox has been one of the best players in the league at his position, he could be in line for one of this best season with some upgrades around him. The team added Pittsburgh defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and Malik Jackson will be returning after missing virtually all of 2019 with a foot injury,.
Also on the list, coming in at No. 34 as Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks.
Brooks was the second guard on the list, behind only Quenton Nelson of the Colts, who was ranked No. 4. Overall, he was the fourth ranked offensive lineman, with only Kansas City's right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (23) and Saints tackle Ryan Ramczyk (26) ahead of his on the Top 50 list.
Just a season ago — in his first year back from a torn Achilles — Brandon Brooks won PFF’s Bruce Matthews Award, which is given to the best single offensive lineman in football. It was a career year for a player who has always been quietly one of the best offensive linemen in the league. He has never had a season that graded lower than average, and he has now surrendered just four sacks in four seasons. Last year, he had eight games in which he surrendered no pressure at all, and if anything, he was a better run-blocker than he was a pass-protector.
Hopefully Brooks can keep this level of play going. He returned from an Achillies tear, and remained one of the premier guards in football. Now he must battle his way back from a dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 17, causing him to miss the teams Wild Card playoff game against Seattle.
Finally, Eagles veteran defensive end Brandon Graham checks in at No. 49 on the list of 50. Noted from his quarterback pressures, over his quarterback sacks, Graham has been a disruptive force for the Eagles and still remains one of the top defensive ends in football.
Brandon Graham has been one of the best edge rushers of the entire decade, but at 32, we may have seen the last of his best years. Last season, his overall PFF grade slipped below 85.0 for the first time since 2015, and he posted the lowest pass-rushing grade of his career since he became a full-time starter. Sixty-seven total pressures is still an impressive number, but the decisive wins weren’t there as often as they had been in previous seasons. Even a declining Brandon Graham is still a problem for an offense, however, and that’s how he makes this list.