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10 Philadelphia Eagles who must step up in 2021


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10 Philadelphia Eagles who must step up in 2021

Glenn Erby 
June 28, 2021 7:19 am ET

As the Eagles approach the 2021 season with a second-year quarterback and first-year head coach, critics, and pundits have enjoyed writing the Birds off.

All successful teams need a lucky break, good luck, and breakout players to step up and play above their heads at times.

We’ve highlighted 10 players that must step up and have solid seasons for the Eagles to have any chance at a playoff spot.

Brandon Brooks


Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Brooks walks the field during organized team activities at the NFL football team’s training facility, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool)

An All-Pro left guard, Brooks missing the 2020 NFL season with an Achilles injury played a huge part in the Eagles falling apart upfront.

If regain his form, the Eagles will be solidified on the right side.

Jalen Hurts


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stands during NFL football practice at Lincoln Financial Field, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

For the Eagles to truly be successful, Hurts has to play well, play with efficiency and avoid injury.

Joe Flacco taking meaningful snaps would be a disaster for Philadelphia.

Eric Wilson


Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Eric Wilson (50) in action against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Wilson has a chance to reverse the negative stereotypes that accompany Philadelphia linebackers on a national scale.

Genard Avery


Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Genard Avery (58) waits for play to resume, during the second half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Acquired via trade, Avery isn’t a natural defensive end and will need to apply pressure from the linebacker position.

Avonte Maddox


Philadelphia Eagles’ Avonte Maddox plays during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Maddox is a solid cornerback, but he needs to take the next step, and a move back to the slot or potentially at safety could open up the 2022 free agent for a huge season.

Derek Barnett


Derek Barnett RDE

Barnett is entering a contract year and a double-digit performance in sacks could finally elevate the former Tennessee Vol to premiere status at his position.

K'Von Wallace


Nov 22, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles safety K’Von Wallace (42) defends during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Wallace has a ton of potential, and if he provides the Eagles will toughness and range at the safety position, Philadelphia could be a sleeper team.

Kerryon Johnson


Johnson can give the Eagles that physical style that’s been missing since LeGarrette Blount moved on.

Zech McPhearson


Cornerback Zech McPhearson, left, runs a drill with cornerback Lavert Hill during rookie minicamp at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

If the Eagles don’t sign Steven Nelson before the season starts, McPhearson will have to hit the ground running at cornerback.

Darius Slay


Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs with the ball against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (24) during the NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Slay doesn’t need to be an All-Pro or make the Pro Bowl, but the talented veteran cornerback can’t fall off the cliff as a player either.


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Replace Avery, Wallace, and Johnson with Lane Johnson, Mailata/Dillard, and Reagor.

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