The Philadelphia Eagles currently have 18 former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, from "Supersonic" Steve Van Buren of the 1940's to their most recent addition of Richard Dent who played for the Eagles in 1997.
I believe that the Eagles' current young nucleus potentially has seven future Hall of Famers. To put that in perspective, the 1960 NFL Championship team had just four Hall of Famers. None of the current Eagles are locks to make the Hall just yet, but I believe that they are all well on their way.
Currently the Eagles have several former players that could get their name in the Hall very soon. Al Wistert, offensive tackle during the 1940's, is still waiting for his call at 90 years old. Randall Cunningham is starting to get some consideration for the Hall but is still probably years away of getting to Canton. Tom Brookshier and Pete Retzlaff, two other greats from the 1960 team, are also still waiting on the Hall of Fame.
Jamar Chaney is definitely the hardest sell of the seven Eagles I believe have Hall of Fame potential. He has only made two career starts, but he has looked fantastic in those starts. In just one season in the NFL, Chaney has gone from a seventh round draft pick who had to fight his way to make the team, to the Eagles starting linebacker for the next seven to 10 years.
In limited action in his first 10 games and two and a half starts in three of the final four games, Chaney had 42 tackles. Chaney has already gotten high praise from an NFL Network Analyst, Brian Baldinger. "Already one of the best middle linebackers in the game" and "He's phenomenal in all phases of the game" said Baldinger of Jamar Chaney following his first start against the Giants in Week 15.
Calling Jamar Chaney a future Hall of Famer is probably a little presumptuous, but he has looked fantastic in limited action and should only get better. Chaney has the speed to cover the entire field but also is a fierce tackler. He really is the total package when it comes to 4-3 middle linebackers.
Juan Castillo, a former linebacker himself, is bring a more aggressive but simpler defensive philosophy to the defense, and Chaney probably stands to benefit more than any other Eagle. I expect Chaney's growth to continue all the way through his career and should take him all the way to Canton 15 to 20 years from now.
Offensive linemen are never an easy sell for Hall of Fame voters. Jason Peters should go down as one of the best lineman of this decade. Peters is only 29, but has already established himself as one of the best offensive tackles in the game. Not bad for a college tight end at Arkansas.
Andy Reid has already stated Jason Peters is "The best left tackle in football. He is a powerful and athletic tackle. I have admired his play over the last few years on film." That is probably why Andy Reid spent a first round draft pick in 2009 to get him, along with a new 60 million dollar contract to keep him happy.
At 6'4" and 340 pounds, he has the size to go along with his athleticism to dominate opposing defensive ends for a long time. Combine that with an opportunity to be coached by legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd for the next two or three years, he should have the impact offensive lineman need to get to the Hall of Fame. A Super Bowl or two couldn't hurt either.
Trent Cole is an avid Hunter, as he boasts about on his twitter. "Quarterbacks on Sunday, Whitetails on Monday."
Cole has the game to back it up. Cole has amassed 57 sacks and 11 forced fumbles in his first 94 games of his career despite not always getting much help from his line mates.
In the last four seasons, Cole has started every game (not including the backup bowl against the Cowboys in 2010). In those four seasons, Cole has racked up 44 sacks and nine forced fumbles. If he kept up this pace for another four seasons, Cole would have 101 career sacks while still having plenty left in the tank at 33 years old.
Cole is currently third all time in sacks in Eagles' history, just 19 behind Clyde Simmons, who has 76 in an Eagles uniform. The fact that Trent Cole could get close to Reggie White's Eagles record of 124 sacks says enough about his Pro Bowl potential.
A few years playing under legendary defensive line coach Jim Washburn, and Trent Cole should put up even bigger numbers in 2011 and beyond.
In just two short seasons for Shady, LeSean McCoy has already established himself as one of the best running backs in the game. In his first two years in the NFL, McCoy has over 2,600 total yards and 13 total touchdowns.
LeSean has gone from Brian Westbrook's apprentice to his replacement, all in his rookie campaign. McCoy has proven to be an every down back. He blocks well for a running back in pass protection, he is the perfect screen pass receiver and his cutting abilities are second to none. He can turn nothing into a long touchdown run whether he gets help from his blockers or not.
McCoy has the ability to put up even bigger numbers for years to come. He's only 22 years old. McCoy should be able to consistently put up 1,500 plus yards seasons, as teams can't load up the box against him with home run threats DeSean Jackson and Jeremey Maclin pushing safeties further and further back each season.
Nobody has been better in NFL history at jumping receiver's routes, nobody.
Asante Samuel has 42 interceptions in his career while he is still only 30 years old. Samuel has picked off 16 passes the past two seasons combined. In 2010, Samuel picked off seven passes in just 11 games while only being thrown at 36 times all year. He also only allowed 3.2 yards per pass attempt. By the end of the season, quarterbacks pretty much refused to throw his way.
Samuel already has an NFL record to add to his Hall of Fame campaign. In 2009, he return an Tavaris Jackson pass for a touchdown in the playoffs, his fourth pick six of his career, an NFL record. Asante is currently tied for fifth all time for career playoff interceptions.
This offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles' front office has been targeting a couple Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks to team up with Asante. Paul Krause currently is the all time leader in career interceptions with 81. If Asante can keep up his current pace for five or six more seasons, he can make a serious run at that record.
Either way, Asante looks like a near lock to make the Hall of Fame when his career is all said and done.
Has there ever been a more dangerous receiver in the history of football? Jerry Rice has all the records, and Michael Irvin was unstoppable in his prime, but I don't believe there has ever been a bigger threat to take it to the house every single time he touches the ball.
Jackson has over 3,100 receiving yards, over 300 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns in his first three years in the league. Jackson's career yards per catch average is over 18 yards for his career, including over 22 yards in 2010.
Jackson has become most famous for his late game heroics against the Giants in the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands." His walk off punt return for a touchdown is one of the most exciting plays in NFL history.
If DeSean Jackson keeps up his current pace until his early 30's, he would have over 10,000 receiving yards and about 90 touchdowns. If he keeps up his current pace until his mid 30's, he would have more receiving yards than anyone not named Jerry Rice.
Those are some big ifs, but his big play ability makes him Hall of Fame caliber, regardless of what his final numbers will be.
Forget about numbers for a second; I don't think there has ever been a more popular player in the NFL. I mean, an opposing player did ask for his autograph after a game, although he said it was for his "nephew".
He threw for over 11,000 yards before being sent to federal prison for two years stemming from dog fighting chargers in 2007. He became a elite player once again, throwing for over 3,000 yards in just 11 starts in 2010. Vick has also rushed for 4,630 yards in his career.
No player has been quite as dynamic a player as Michael Vick has. He is a running back and a quarterback in one package. In two years under Andy Reid, Michael Vick became a complete quarterback. In 2010, Vick set a career high with a 62.6 percent completion percentage, the first time in his career he went over 60 percent.
Michael Vick is just 31 years old, with two years out of football his body might feel like he is still under 30. Michael Vick has yet to see his full potential under Andy Reid. 2011 will be the first season for the Eagles that Vick will go into the season as the start. With more reps in practice with the starters and more familiarity with the offense, Vick's numbers should be even better.