Josh Sweat can be the Eagles x factor
by Jacob Keppen
There were not a ton of positives from last season. A 4-11-1 embarrassment that saw the Eagles bottom dwellers of the struggling NFC East, it was one to forget for Philadelphians. Despite everything that went wrong, there were some positives to take from 2020. Three players made their marks last year and give fans just another thing to be excited about this season. With all of the attention on new quarterback Jalen Hurts and first-round pick Devonta Smith, here are three underrated Philadelphia Eagles that you should know for next season.
1. Josh Sweat
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t do a ton of things well last year, but the one thing they were able to do was to get to the quarterback. Philadelphia finished 3rd in the NFL in sacks per game, with 49 total sacks. Despite finishing as a top-three defensive line, no player on the Eagles broke the 10 sack mark. The Eagles finished with as many sacks as they did as a result of every player pulling their weight, regardless of starting status.
One of these impact rotational players was 3rd-year defensive end Josh Sweat. The former 4th round pick continued to improve and make a further impact as a pass rusher in year three, sacking the quarterback 6 times in 14 appearances. The former Florida State Seminole also accumulated 9 tackles for loss. Sweat led starter Derrick Barnett in both categories and looks to further make his case to start this season.
2. Travis Fulgham
For a brief moment, it looked like the Philadelphia Eagles had an unexpected star in Travis Fulgham. The former Detroit Lions 6th round pick joined the Eagles to little fanfare, but the Old Dominion product would give fans one of the biggest positive moments of the season.
There was a five game stretch in 2020 where Travis Fulgham looked like the answer to all of Philadelphia’s problems at wide receiver. He immediately made an impact in his debut against San Francisco, scoring the go-ahead touchdown. Fulgham exploded the next week against Pittsburgh, racking up 10 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Fulgham would have a few more solid starting games before a pair of poor performances and a returning Alshon Jeffery heavily cut his playing time. At the end of the season though, Fulgham led the team in receiving yards. The 6’2 215 receiver will be the perfect big-bodied X receiver to complement the speedier options in Jalen Reagor and Devonta Smith.
3. Alex Singleton
The Eagles linebacker situation is a lot less dire heading into 2021 than it was heading into 2020. The Eagles linebackers struggled a bit in 2019, but there still were guys who could make plays. Bradham was starting to lose a bit of a step but still was a good option. Kamu Grugier-Hill was a solid linebacker as well. Both left in the offseason, leaving the Eagles will arguably the worst linebacker group in football. The position was exploited week after week by opposing offenses, and it wasn’t until a few weeks into the season that the Eagles found a solution at the position. A solution who was an undrafted former CFL standout in Alex Singleton.
Despite only starting 11 games, Alex Singleton was one of the most prolific tacklers in the NFL. The Montana State product finished with 120 tackles, good for 15th in the league, despite playing in 2-4 games less than most of the players ahead of him. A highly athletic player with a fiery motor, Singleton was one of the most prolific run stoppers in the NFL last year. With the addition of former Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson, look for Alex Singleton to headline a much improved Eagles linebacker group.