DeSean Jackson is the Eagles' best offensive player.
Trent Cole is the Eagles' best defensive player.
That's how I see it. That's probably how you see it. And while that might be how the national media see it, that doesn't mean Jackson and Cole are considered elite players around the country.
Which brings us to a couple lists I stumbled upon today.
Let's start with Pete Prisco's list of the top 50 players in the NFL on CBSSports.com. How many Eagles made the cut?
How about zero?
No Jackson. No Cole.
Here are the receivers that made it ahead of Jackson: Andre Johnson (7), Larry Fitzgerald (11), Randy Moss (28), Brandon Marshall (40), Steve Smith (49).
There are no specific guidelines for Prisco's list - just that these are the top 50 players in the league. Moss is 33, and Smith is 31, but both guys have some good years left in them. If you're projecting forward, in other words - Which 50 players would you start your franchise with? - it's easier to make the case for Jackson, who's only 23.
As for Cole, Prisco lists him among the players who "just missed" the cut. The pass-rushers in the top 50 are: DeMarcus Ware (5), Dwight Freeney (10), Jared Allen (12), Mario Williams (17), LaMarr Woodley (26), Julius Peppers (31) and Elvis Dumervil (32).
Meanwhile, Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com put out a similar list recently, but he goes with the top 100.
Four Eagles made the cut, and one even cracked the top 50: Asante Samuel:
A two-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro Bowl participant and two-time All-Pro, Samuel's evolved into a senior leader in the Eagles locker room. Though he rarely plays press coverage and isn’t exactly Dick Butkus when it comes to tackling, he's one of the league’s premier interception artists. In the last two seasons, the 29-year-old's recorded 13 regular-season interceptions, including two in the playoffs. His nine picks last year were tied for most in the NFL.
Jackson comes in at 53; Jason Peters at 65; and Cole at 95.
Here is the criteria for Schrager's list:
1. Which player would I rather have on my team?
2. Which player would make the most impact on my team?
3. Which player will be the best in 2010, specifically?
Given those rules, I have a hard time believing Cole shouldn't be higher. He has 34 sacks in the last three seasons and hasn't missed a game. He's only 27 and has shown he's excellent against the run also. There are really 94 players better than him?
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