THERE 3 are simple rules to making this list:
1) You have to have played between 1989 and 2014
2) You have to have been a starter for at least 3 years as an Eagle
3) You must be underrated by either the Fans, the Media or Both.
And now, the DEFENSE.
RDE: HUGH DOUGLAS Underrated by: Both
Douglas came here from the Jets as a pass rusher, with the knock of being soft vs. the run. Apparently he left that in New York, because while here you could count on Hugh to handle business on his side of the line. Unfortunately Douglas played after Reggie White and Clyde Simmons, but before Trent Cole, so he kind of gets lost among the list.
DT1: MIKE PITTS Underrated by: Both
It’s a travesty how many Eagles fans claim to remember Jerome Brown, yet can’t recall Pitts. Pitts was the lever between Brown and Simmons. His ability to hold the point and move the LOS helped trap players in the backfield so teammates could make the finish and record the stats. He rotated with Mike Golic, but there was no doubt that we were better when Pitts was out there.
DT2: DARWIN WALKER Underrated by: Both
A solid, no nonsense player with a blue collar, lunch pail mentality. Walker was moved all over the D-line and if you lined up against him, you were in for a fight.
LDE: WILLIAM FULLER Underrated by: Both
Brought in ostensibly as the replacement for White, Fuller put up great numbers (35.5 sacks over three years), but you wouldn’t know it based on how seldom his name comes up either with fans or the media.
RLB: WILLIAM THOMAS Underrated by: The Media
Thomas was an undersized jack of all trades type, who was also as reliable as the sun rising in the East. Despite an 11 year career that included 2 Pro Bowls, if you want an example of just how little respect the media and even the league has for him, you only have to click HERE. (Update: Due to the effort of this website, the NFL has since fixed the glitch.)
MLB: BYRON EVANS Underrated by: Both
The funny thing is not all fans have forgotten B.E., or how he used to own the middle of Buddy Ryan’s 46 Defense. However when the subject of great Eagles players come up, I rarely hear or read his name.
No Eagles player qualifies for this position. Since Seth Joyner vacated the position after 1993, no Eagles player has started more than 2 seasons at LLB. Put another way: The absence left by Joyner is now old enough to drink. The only reason I don’t put him here, is because he isn’t underrated. This position stands as a monument to our teams inability/unwillingness to draft quality OLB’s. I love my Eagles, but truth is truth, and I don’t speak a second language.
SS: MIKE ZORDICH Underrated by: Both
Zordich wasn’t the biggest or the fastest, but his effort was always on display. The man bought into what it was he was doing, and executed it to the limits of his ability. You never looked at him and felt like he dogged a play or “took a down off”.
FS: QUINTIN MIKELL Underrated by: The Media
I love the fact that I just wrote “Q” (as teammates called him), in at FS. During his years here Q played deep in single-high coverage, and was listed as a SS; while Brian Dawkins played close to the line of scrimmage, yet was listed as a FS. (Everywhere else that’s the opposite. In fact under Chip Kelly it’s been corrected.) Though overshadowed by Dawk during his time here, it was Q’s coverage (and the man skills of CB’s Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard), that allowed Dawk to be the player he was.
RCB: BOBBY TAYLOR Underrated by: The Media
6’3 216lbs. (I just went and looked it up to verify it, but I swear to you I actually remembered it.). How often back then did you see a CB with that kind of size who could actually play? There are two things that relegate Taylor to being forever underrated. One, for a while, teams simply didn’t want to throw the ball near him. Two, later in his career here he played opposite Troy Vincent. How much did Troy over shadow Taylor? Today on Taylor’s profile page the most recent entry under Player News is a story about Vincent. I myself in this section have mentioned him 3 times prior to now. That’s four. Despite the pair being joined at the hip for eternity, there is no denying that Taylor was a great CB.
LCB: MARK McMILLIAN Underrated by: Both
5’7 154 lbs. (The weight I had to look up).When Ray Rhodes decided to start this guy, pretty much everyone figured that Rhodes was smoking that stuff. McMillian however turned out to be exactly what a player of his stature needed to be. He was scrappy, resilient, and fearless. Not overly bold, but fearless. In 1995 he and Taylor would give us one hell of an Odd Couple at CB.
Since there were no qualifiers for LLB, I thought I’d go outside the lines and tip the hat to a guy that we fans love and appreciate. Since he wasn’t a starter, it’s hard to say he never got his due attention/appreciation from the national media or NFL. Reese was the key to our Special Teams units and a guy that other players sought for sound council. What he brought to the table will never show up on stat sheet or box score, but when a team is bereft of it, it never fails to show up on a stat sheet or a box score.
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