NFL.com has a myriad of lists and features to bridge fans from the post-OTA slumber to the start of Training Camp. One of them is unveiling the most underrated players in each franchise's history.
It's certainly good debate fodder and there is a plethora of options available for the analysts when it comes to the Eagles. Here's a look at the list NFL.com's Bill Sudell provided as the five most underrated players in Eagles history.
- Quarterback Tommy Thompson, 1941-50 - "The man under center for two of the franchise's three NFL crowns usually slips through the cracks. After becoming the full-time starter in 1947, Thompson led the Eagles to three straight NFL title game appearances, and two championships in 1948 and 1949. While Thompson's personal stats might have been underwhelming, Philadelphia went 31-8-1 in that span, including postseason games."
- Wide receiver Irving Fryar, 1996-98 - "A three-year stay in Philadelphia was more than enough for Fryar to leave his mark on the Eagles' record book. The former Nebraska star caught 88 and then 86 balls in his first two campaigns in midnight green, the two highest totals in franchise history at the time."
- Defensive end Clyde Simmons, 1986-93 - "Simmons ranks second in Eagles history with 76 sacks, but a deeper look inside the numbers shows what a force No. 96 truly was. From 1989 through 1992, he collected 55 sacks, the most of any NFL defensive lineman during that span, including a league-high 19.0 in 1992."
- Linebacker William Thomas, 1991-99 - "Willie T was a mainstay on Eagles teams of the 1990s, appearing in 140 games, a franchise record for linebackers. ... Thomas is one of just six players in NFL history (Ronde Barber, Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, Ray Lewis, Adrian Wilson) with at least 25 career sacks and 25 interceptions - not bad company."
- Free safety Bill Bradley, 1969-76 - "Ask your friends who shares the Eagles franchise record of 34 career interceptions with Eric Allen and Brian Dawkins and I'd guess very few would know Bradley does. The 1969 third rounder out of Texas had the misfortune of playing during a dreadful era in Eagles history in which the team went 35-72-5 during his eight seasons."
However, a fellow NFL.com analyst, Dave Dameshek argued for a more recent Eagle. Dameshek claimed that the player from the Eagles teams that made four straight NFC Championship Games who did not get enough of the credit was running back Brian Westbrook.
Certainly, Westbrook should be in the conversation of most underrated Eagles of all time. A third-round pick in 2002, Westbrook spent eight seasons with the Eagles. He ranks second in franchise history to Wilbert Montgomery in rushing yards with 5,995. He's third in franchise history in total touchdowns with 68. He is also third in franchise history with 426 receptions and holds the top mark for most catches (regardless of position) in a season with 90.
Westbrook earned All-Pro honors in 2007 after combining for a franchise record 2,104 yards from scrimmage. Westbrook is the Eagles' all-time leader in yards from scrimmage with 9,785.
Not only was Westbrook a dynamic rusher, but he was an outstanding pass catcher and blocker. He was a home run threat every time he touched the ball whether it was as a runner, receiver or as a punt returner. On top of it all, Westbrook was well respected by his teammates and looked at as a leader in the locker room.
It's a fascinating debate regarding who is the most underrated Eagle in team history. It also should be noted that there are only 17 days until rookies report for Training Camp.
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