Key Players- Eagles

1. Nick Foles– He’s come in and replaced a front-runner for the league’s most valuable player award and look where he has them, in the biggest game of them all. When Carson tore his ACL, many gave up on this team and stated that the NFC would be represented by another team. I felt they were in great shape because they had a solid backup quarterback which every team needs. He woke up in the second half of the divisional playoff showdown against Atlanta and the following week, he looked unstoppable against the Minnesota Vikings. At six-foot-six, he’s able to look directly over the line, but if he needs too, he will scramble and extend the play with his feet. I love his pocket presence. He stands tall and even with pressure coming at him in a variety of ways.

2. Jay Ajayi– When they acquired him, that told me they were trying to not only advance in the playoffs, they felt this would be the one piece that can put them over the top and help them come out the NFC and look where they are now. He’s what I call a “violent runner” with the ability to trust his blockers up front and then, he bursts through. He’s also a great receiving back and can get out into the flat and help impact the passing game. He’s got the great vision, he can break tackles, spin away from would-be tacklers and he can get into open space with ease. He’s a lot quicker than people think. He was added to a potent offense for a reason.

3. Zach Ertz– We hear about Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce and rightfully so. This guy right here is just as good as those two I listed. He’s the best player on this offense that many don’t know about. He’s six-foot-five, 250 pounds with tremendous speed, a great catch radius and I really enjoy watching how he moves to get open and he makes plays down the seams, in the flat, over the middle, on the outside and he’s become a feared threat in the red-zone. He’s the heartbeat and the engine to this Eagles offense and he’s also a chain mover so if you need a guy to help you get those additional yards after the catch, this is the guy to target.

4. Alshon Jeffrey– Last season, he did state that his team would be playing in a Super Bowl, but here’s the thing: He never said which team! What a year this guy had in his first year with the Eagles. He’s your typical possession receiver that wants to go up and get the football out the air in those 50-50 situations and a good portion of the time, he comes down with the football. He’s such a fluid route runner and he has the confidence that he will win each time at the line of scrimmage no matter who the defender is and it really doesn’t matter where he ends up, he’ll make that catch and he’s been the perfect fit for the Eagles uptempo offense.

5. Fletcher Cox– For years, I’ve always labeled him as one of the more underrated players in the game. This guy is a true football player. He’s scrappy, physical, has great footwork and his motor is always revved up! He’s 310 pounds and one of the quickest guys on the field. He has a variety of moves to get to the quarterback and his best is a simple rush where he pushes the offensive linemen into the backfield and he’ll get to the passer and when a quarterback scrambles, he will run until he can bring him down and you don’t see many 300 pound guys with that hustle. He’s a bully on the field.

6. Chris Long– He’s been a solid addition to this team and a nice veteran presence. Just last season, he was in the same position with the New England Patriots and made big plays for them when it mattered. This year, he’s back in the Super Bowl and with the Eagles. He’s the perfect player for what defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants in his scheme. He’s your typical pass rusher off the edge, but also succeeds at stopping the run and making the best possible stop when the team needs it. He’s been a solid veteran piece on one of the best defenses in the league.

7. Malcolm Jenkins– Every football team has their heart and soul and the enforcer and for the Eagles, that just happens to be Malcolm Jenkins. He’s one of the six players on the active roster with Super Bowl experience. He’s a former cornerback who made the change to safety and he’s done well with the switch of positions. What comes in handy is the ability to cover receivers running over the middle of the field and he makes quarterbacks think twice about throwing in his direction. He plays as if he were a linebacker because he can be loaded into the box and he stops the run just as effectively as he plays in pass defense.

8. Ronald Darby- What a boost he’s provided for the Eagles secondary this year. He wants to defend the opponent’s top receiving option and doesn’t back away from the challenge. He covers a lot of ground down the field and plays deep and can run with the receiver down the field. He’s a ballhawk meaning wherever the football is, you’ll see Darby either in on making a tackle, tipping the ball away or getting an interception. He’s a physical cornerback and wants to jam your receiver off his route and be disruptive.