Pro Bowl Projections: 5 Eagles players who could earn their first nod in 2022
Although the Eagles front office brought in a handful of established players this offseason to solidify their roster, there are plenty of young players who are bound to breakout and earn Pro Bowl nods in 2022.
Howie Roseman and Co. have done a nice job acquiring young talent through the NFL Draft over the past few years. On both sides of the ball, Philly has a nice blend of budding stars and stable veterans. With several of the youngsters primed for pivotal roles in 2022, a handful of them are bound to burst into the national spotlight.
Here are five Eagles players who should be able to reach the Pro Bowl for the first time this season.
WR DeVonta Smith
DeVonta Smith may not technically be the No. 1 wide receiver in Nick Sirianni’s offense this season, but he should still see his fair share of targets. While he doesn’t get the same level of hype as Ja’Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle, Smith still cemented himself as one of the best young receivers in football last season.
Playing in an offense that ran the ball 52.7 percent of the time (highest run percentage in the NFL), Smith still managed to break the Eagles rookie receiving yards record, racking up 916 yards on 64 receptions while finding the endzone five times.
With the addition of AJ Brown, Smith should see much more favorable matchups in 2022. Couple that with the natural maturation of Jalen Hurts as a passer and Smith is primed for a more explosive campaign in 2022.
LT Jordan Mailata
Jordan Mailata probably should have earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season, but given his age and limited exposure, snubbing the former rugby star is somewhat understandable. Nevertheless, he solidified himself as one of the best young tackles in the sport last season and is only scratching the surface of his potential.
Per Pro Football Focus, Mailata was the third-best offensive tackle in the NFL last season based on their grading system. He finished the year with an overall grade of 88.3 while earning a 83.8 pass blocking grade (seventh-best out of 80 qualifying tackles) and an 88.5 run blocking grade (fifth-best). On 461 pass blocking reps last season, Mailata only surrendered three sacks, one quarterback hit, and 16 hurries.
Mailata has developed at an unprecedented rate and with his natural physical gifts, not only could he reach his first Pro Bowl in 2022, he could cement himself as a top-three offensive tackle in the game.
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LB Haason Reddick
How has Haason Reddick never made a Pro Bowl before?
He’s been a menace for opposing quarterbacks over the past two seasons, racking up a total of 23.5 sacks, fifth-most in the NFL during that time. Reddick has managed to convert 3.2 percent of his pass rushes into sacks during that same time frame (third-highest rate in the league) and he’s one of only two players to record at least 100 tackles, 20 sacks, and eight forced fumbles since 2020. The other player, future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald.
Recording double-digit sacks in a season typically guarantees a spot in the Pro Bowl and Reddick has done it two years in a row. If he manages to reach that benchmark again this season, he should be a lock to make it.
RB Miles Sanders
According to most reports out of camp, Miles Sanders has looked as explosive as he’s ever been. The former second-round pick has been loud and clear about his intentions this season: quiet the doubters and prove that he’s worth a contract extension at the end of the year.
We all know Sanders has Pro Bowl potential. Since entering the league in 2019, he’s averaged 5.1 yards per carry, eighth-highest in NFL history among backs with at least 500 carries. Sanders posted a career-best 20 explosive runs in 2021, along with a per carry average of 5.5 yards. Yet, the Penn State product has never eclipsed 900 rushing yards in a single season.
The only thing holding Sanders back is his health. His rookie year aside, Sanders has failed to stay completely healthy during the season. If he can put those nagging injuries behind him and continue being the explosive playmaker that he is, there’s no doubt he’ll be a Pro Bowl favorite this season.
QB Jalen Hurts
Regardless of your thoughts on Jalen Hurts entering the 2022 season, he’s undoubtedly one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the league when he’s playing well. He led the team in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (10) last season, paving the way for the best rushing attack in football.
With the added weaponry around him like AJ Brown and Zach Pascal, along with the weapons he already has continuity with like DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Quez Watkins, Hurts’ passing stats should elevate this season.
It’s no secret that he struggled as a passer last season, totaling just 16 passing touchdowns and 3,144 yards through the air. If Hurts can boost those numbers a bit, while still retaining his rushing production, 2022 should be a Pro Bowl year for the Eagles quarterback.
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