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'Underrated' storylines of 2022 | Locked On Eagles

Here are some of the "overlooked" storylines of the 2022 Eagles' season.

PHILADELPHIA — For the first time since 2004, the Philadelphia Eagles have started a season 6-0. The team is the top seed in the NFC and the only undefeated squad left in the NFL.

There are a lot of reasons for the undefeated start. 

The obvious ones? 

  • Jalen Hurts breaking out as an early MVP candidate in his second year as the full time starting quarterback
  • A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert have helped the offense get to the top of the league in explosive plays 
  • The offensive line remains the best in the NFL
  • The defense leads the league in turnovers and has the fourth most sacks 

All of general manager Howie Roseman’s free agent signings, trade acquisitions, and draft picks seem to be working out, too.

The most important parts of becoming a championship contender seem to be coming together in Philadelphia, but what about the underrated parts of this fast start? What are the overlooked storylines of this 2022 season?

There are three that stand out:

Safety isn’t a weakness -- it may even be a strength

Up until August, safety was seen as the biggest weakness of the Eagles' roster. Roseman and the front office let six-year starter Rodney McLeod move on to Indianapolis, and they struck out on landing the top free agent at the position in former New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams.

Philadelphia re-signed Anthony Harris to a one-year extension, but they also weren’t able to upgrade in the draft when no safety worth a Day 2 pick fell to their second or third round selections. The June signing of veteran Jaquiski Tartt didn’t work out either, and the Eagles were left wondering if the promising, yet unproven Marcus Epps could carry the load.

Epps has been a breakout player for the defense in 2022. He has been one of the best run defenders on the second level, and he has rarely gotten beat in coverage.

But the Eagles didn’t settle, trading with New Orleans for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson just a few weeks before the start of the regular season. The move has really put this defense over the top.

Gardner-Johnson played slot cornerback for the Saints the majority of the time, but he has transitioned well as a safety that plays deep, in the box, and all across the formation. The more the weeks go on, the more comfortable he has gotten in his new scheme.

In the last two games, Gardner-Johnson has already tied his career-high for interceptions in a season with three, including two on Sunday night. In total, he has 14 tackles, three interceptions, and three pass deflections in the matchups against Arizona and Dallas.

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Isaac Seumalo’s comeback campaign

The Eagles offensive line has been dominant this season, as usual. 

Lane Johnson has been the best tackle in football, Jason Kelce is showing no signs of slowing down, and the young-guns on the left side of the line in Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson continue to look like an elite, long term duo.

Quietly, however, the biggest story might be at right guard.

Isaac Seumalo has been a solid starter for years in Philadelphia, but there were a lot of question marks heading into 2022.

Seumalo was coming off a season-ending lisfranc injury, while also having to switch positions to try and fight for a starting job. Dickerson dominated in Seumalo’s absence last year on the left side, so Seumalo was forced to battle Jack Driscoll to become the starter at right guard.

Learning a new position while recovering from a serious injury is not easy. 

Not only did Seumalo win the job, but he has dominated in his new spot. Through six games, Seumalo has yet to allow a single sack.

It's an incredible comeback story for perhaps the most underrated player on offense.

Jordan Davis is breaking out

The Eagles 2022 first round selection hasn’t put up flashy numbers or highlight reel plays, but that doesn’t mean Jordan Davis hasn’t shown why Philadelphia traded up to select him with their first pick.

Davis has been the best run defender on the defensive line all season, but his overall game has really heated up the last four weeks.

Head coach Nick Sirianni said the matchup with the Arizona Cardinals was the best game of the season for Davis, and the same could have been said the previous week against Jacksonville as well.

His snaps have increased as his development as a pass-rusher continues to progress. Davis has muddied a lot of pockets with his signature bull-rush move, but he has started to flash some counters too, when his initial attack doesn’t work.

Pro Football Focus currently has Davis graded out as the 12th best defensive tackle so far this season.

The Eagles are at the top of the football world through six weeks. These players deserve a lot of credit for helping them get there.

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