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Eagles mailbag: Predicting team MVPs for 2022


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Eagles mailbag: Predicting team MVPs for 2022


We’re less than a week away from the season opener in Detroit. How exciting is that?

Thanks for all the questions and apologies if I didn’t get to yours:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3:


This is fun. Let’s start with the offense. My pick would be A.J. Brown. I knew he was a good player in Tennessee but getting to see him all summer, it was clear that he’s a special player, the kind of player the Eagles haven’t had in quite some time. Now, if Brown has a tremendous season, that likely means Jalen Hurts has improved too and the QB is often in the lead for any kind of MVP vote. But this could be a case of Brown really helping to raise the play of the quarterback. He’s that good. And as long as he stays healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t be a Pro Bowl player in his first season with the team. He will give that passing offense a much-needed boost.

I really could have given the MVP vote to the entire offensive line too. That unit should be the strength of the entire team but it was tough to single out just one player.

On defense, I’ll go with Javon Hargrave. There were plenty of exciting additions this offseason and I was tempted to give a nod to Haason Reddick because he’ll help out the pass rush quite a bit. But with all these additions, we should’t lose track of Hargrave. He has been dealing with a toe injury in the summer but once he’s healthy, he’s primed for a big year. He was a Pro Bowler in 2021 and he can be even better in 2022. After a really hot start last year, more teams began to double Hargrave but that won’t be as easy this season with big Jordan Davis now in the mix. And if Fletcher Cox can play like he did at the end of last year all season, he’s still going to get some doubles too. If Hargrave gets a bunch of 1-on-1s, he’s going to win them consistently.


No, it was not part of the trade like the deal for Brown. But, remember, the Eagles gave up a first-round pick for Brown, so they needed to make sure they weren’t getting a rental player. Even if the Eagles get just one season out of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, it would be worth what they gave up. (The Eagles got CJG and a 2025 7th for a 2023 5th and a 2024 6th.)

But with that said, the Eagles should try to extend Gardner-Johnson during this season assuming this goes as well as they hope. It would behoove them to get a deal done before he hits the open market next offseason. What would that contract look like? Little tough to figure out right now, but that might become clearer once we see him play.


Before we project this year’s snap counts, let’s take a look at last year’s percentages (at least of the main contributors):

DT Fletcher Cox: 66%
DT Javon Hargrave: 65%
DT Milton Williams: 40%
DT Hassan Ridgeway: 33%
SAM Genard Avery: 32%
DE: Derek Barnett: 64%
DE: Josh Sweat: 58%
DE Ryan Kerrigan: 29%
DE Tarron Jackson: 22%
DE Brandon Graham: 5%

This year, the Eagles have basically swapped Ridgeway, Avery and Kerrigan for Jordan Davis, Haason Reddick and Graham. Obviously so much of this is dependent on health, which is impossible to predict, but I’d expect to see Barnett’s snap counts drop. Reddick will end up playing way more than Avery did at the same position in 2021. The Eagles might bring Davis along a little slower. He’ll have a big role from Day 1, but it should increase. I could also see guys like Patrick Johnson and Jackson earning more playing time as the season goes on.

Side note: I still can’t believe Kerrigan played that much last year.


As you see above, Williams played 40% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps last season and was active in every game. I think we’ll see that number rise a little bit if he’s healthy, but he won’t catch up to Cox or Hargrave. Davis is obviously going to warrant more playing time than Ridgeway did. The one thing Williams has going for him is his versatility. He can play a few different positions on the line and is a natural fit in whatever front Gannon wants to play.


I think it’ll be Jack Stoll. It was clear all summer, even before Grant Calcaterra missed significant time with a hamstring injury, that Stoll was the second-team tight end. While Calcaterra is a much more natural pass catcher, Stoll is a much better blocker. And when the Eagles are in 12 personnel, it makes more sense to have the more natural blocker out there with Dallas Goedert.


I’ll give you two on each side of the ball.

Offense: Zach Pascal, Kenny Gainwell

I didn’t know what to expect from Pascal this summer, especially after his bout with food poisoning. He lost 16 pounds but was still big and strong and made a ton of plays all during training camp. He’s clearly the fourth receiver in the pecking order, but he’s going to earn some playing time. If there’s one area Pascal might be able to help, it’s in the red zone. He has 15 career TD catches. And Gainwell didn’t have a good training camp, but he’s going to have a nice little role in this offense. I don’t expect a ton more production than he had as a rookie but there should be an uptick and his role will likely be more consistent.

Defense: Patrick Johnson, Kyzir White

The Eagles have a ton of edge players but Johnson is now the backup to Reddick at the SAM position. Johnson flashed a ton in training camp and might be ready to join that rotation. And with all the acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball, White has been somewhat overlooked recently. He shouldn’t be. White can play.


There’s some projection when it comes to Epps, but let’s not forget that he was the Eagles’ best safety last year. Even though he wasn’t a full-time starter, he earned more playing time as the year went on because he was simply better than Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod. You never really know how a player will handle a bigger role and if they can be as good once that role expands, but I can tell you that the Eagles have confidence in Epps. When they were looking for safeties all offseason and even when they signed CGJ, it wasn’t about Epps. It was about the other safety spot.


Nah, Sermon hasn’t returned kicks or punts in the NFL and didn’t in college either.


I … don’t know. I’ll ask him.


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