Successful Eagles season could come down to these 5 guys

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We’ve ripped June off the calendar and that means that Eagles training camp is just weeks away.

While we all wait, it’s safe to dream a little. There’s even time to enjoy the defunction that surrounds Dallas this offseason. The Cowboys came from behind to win the NFC East last year thanks entirely to an utter collapse by the Eagles.

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A repeat of that result doesn’t seem remotely possible for the Eagles this year.

If the Eagles get a typical performance from their key players, we should all enjoy a successful season.

If the Eagles get All-Pro-caliber seasons from the five players below, it will be a very special season indeed.

Running back Saquon Barkley

It’s OK to admit it, Barkley was the only thing to be scared about with the Giants. Now he’s on the Eagles sideline.

Despite playing for a truly dreadful New York team last year, Barkley still managed 962 yards rushing and six touchdowns. This year, he will be surrounded by easily the best team he has ever been on.

Barkley’s versatility and big-play potential should blossom like it never has before with the riches the Eagles have on offense. Anything less than a career-best of 1,300-plus yard would be a surprise. The Eagles may have found that extra weapon that can push them over the top come playoff time.

Defensive tackle Jalen Carter

Carter was nothing short of spectacular as a rookie last season, especially early in the season. Carter had 45 tackles, 18 assisted tackles and 2½ sacks despite seeing double teams on nearly every snap.

With the retirement of Fletcher Cox, Carter will be counted on to be even better this season.

Carter will be a player to watch starting in training camp. With a year under his belt expect him to be better equipped mentally and physically to put the defense on his shoulders.

Placekicker Jake Elliott

It’s amazing to think that the Eagles stumbled into one of the best, most consistent field goal kickers in the league early in the 2017 Super Bowl season.

Elliott made 30 of 32 field goals last year, including the toughest kick of the year, in dismal conditions in Kansas City with the game on the line.

Eilliott might well be the Eagles best player, believe it or not. Even if he isn’t, having Elliott makes the Eagles a threat to score three points anytime they get the ball.

Offensive tackle Lane Johnson

Johnson has built himself into one of the best right tackles who has ever played the game. Still, there are two areas that Johnson himself would tell you that he can and will improve on.

Johnson has struggled to stay healthy for a complete season and he will have to take on an even bigger role as a leader on the offensive line.

Johnson played 16 games last season and 15 the year before while working through an ankle injury that kept him at just under his high standards. Now healthy, he can continue to add to a resume that could make him a Hall of Famer.   

Now the elder statesman on the offensive line, with the retirement of Jason Kelce, Johnson’s example and leadership will be counted on for far more this year.

Cornerback Darius Slay

Big Play Slay, or Slay, as he prefers to be called, led the Eagles with three interceptions last year for a secondary unit that imploded by season’s end.

A near-total overhaul of the secondary, with two early-round draft picks plus the return of CJ Gardner-Johnson and the reinstatement of Isaiah Rodgers means the talent level of the secondary will be immeasurably better.

Still, Slay will be the most important player for the unit, if not the whole defense. Slay is still capable of being an elite player. If he has the season he’s capable of, the Eagles will be in very good shape.   

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