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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
It is that time of year again and, on Sunday, the NFL began to release their Top 100 list for 2020.
Portions will be released (in ascending order) through Wednesday, but the first 30 players were released on Sunday night.
For better or worse, there were quite a few Eagles in that bottom portion.
While being on the list in itself is great, it is not good to see all most of these players dropping down the list.
The first Eagle to appear on the list was right guard Brandon Brooks, who is making his first appearance on the list.
After years of being underappreciated and being left off the list, the elite lineman finally finds himself being recognized.
Unfortunately, his debut on the list could not have been much lower and he will have no momentum to make the list next season as he is already scheduled to be out for the entire 2020 season due to a torn Achilles. That will make it difficult for him to make the list in 2021.
In the meantime, Brooks will continue his martial arts and rehabbing and look to return better once again in 2021.
Four spots ahead of Brooks, was his line-mate, Jason Kelce.
Kelce dropped from 72 in 2019, but makes his second appearance on the list. He is also the only center that made the list this season.
Kelce has been a First-Team All-Pro for three straight seasons now and is the top center in the league, with Rodney Hudson being the only other center that could even be in the conversation.
The fact that Kelce is the best player at his position and comes in at 94 really demonstrates how even the players themselves have a tendency to ignore offensive linemen and go for the players that have more tangible statistics.
The veteran center is on track to have a very solid Hall of Fame case and this kind of recognition will play well for the voters when that time comes.
Kelce will be back at center in 2020, but will have to work with Jason Peters directly to his right, so some drop off could be expected early if things are not smoothed out by the time the season opens.
The first defender to find themselves on the list, cornerback Darius Slay also saw his ranking fall.
Though it is his third straight appearance on the list, the corner has dropped from 49 to 86 and now to 92.
Slay has been a shutdown corner, but suffered from injuries in 2019 that limited his play.
It’s also helpful to mention that he’s spent the past seven years with the Detroit Lions, a team which many NFL fans that don’t follow the team closely can’t name more than two impact defenders the last few seasons.
Slay was acquired via trade this offseason and figures to play with a far better defensive line in front of him, a luxury that he has never experienced.
He needs to be an impact corner in 2020, but if any of the Eagles other corners or safeties (outside McLeod) work out, Slay won’t have to be on as much of an island and won’t need to cover as long, which should allow him to increase his ranking on the list for next season.
Coming in at 85 was tight end Zach Ertz.
While it his third consecutive appearance on the list, he dropped 45 spots from his position at 85 last year.
Being the leading receiver on your team and playing with cracked ribs and a lacerated kidney would seemingly move you higher in the opinion of other players, but that would seem not to be the case here.
Ertz recorded 916 yards and six touchdowns on 88 catches in 2019.
The next player on the list also took a massive drop this year: 45 spots to be exact.
Fletcher Cox comes in at 73 after being ranked 28 in 2019.
Cox’s drop is more understandable than Ertz’s.
Unlike Ertz, Cox did not have a good season statistically.
The veteran defensive tackle was lined up to have another huge season, but injuries to Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway early in the season left Cox struggling with his own injuries and a stable of undrafted rookies inside next to him.
He’s been seeing double teams his whole career, but the lack of additional talent made it that much easier to turn more attention to him. The Birds hope that that issue has been addressed with the Javon Hargrave signing in addition to a healthy Jackson and Ridgeway.
The only other local connection on the list from 100-71 was former Penn State receiver Allen Robinson, who came in at 93.