While there is much to be decided in the 2010 NFL season, one Eagle has recently been endorsed as the early favorite for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Pro Football Focus has released its 10 candidates for the award most recently won by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, and defensive end Trent Cole is their leader at the season's halfway mark.
Cole has been his dominant self through seven games this season. He's played practically every snap of every game, and his 6.0 sacks are seventh in the NFC (three of the six players ahead of Cole have played one more game). According to PFF, which watches every game and grades each player, his 35 quarterback pressures ranks third in the NFL for defensive ends. The website also sites that Cole has been graded positively in each of his seven starts this season.
Of course, what makes Cole's numbers even more impressive is the fact that he is double or even triple teamed the vast majority of the time.
"It's time to start warming to the notion that Cole may be the best defensive end in the league," Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus writes. "(Cole) almost never comes off the field, and is one of the main reasons Philly has stayed strong despite the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and the youth movement on offense."
While he was No. 1, Cole wasn't the only Eagle to crack the top 10 on the PFF list. Safety Quintin Mikell was listed at the No. 10 spot, and was credited for his consistent play at a crucial position on defense.
"Year after year, Mikell is at or near the top of our safety rankings," Elsayed said. "(He) doesn't have the longevity or long hair to garner attention at the safety spot, but just does everything so well."
There is still plenty of football to be played this season, but it's nice to see some Eagles get the recognition they deserve for a solid first half to the 2010 season. If there are Eagles you think that deserve recognition, you can help send them to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 10:00 a.m., November 2