Eagles Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when the Philadelphia Eagles were often found at the bottom of the NFC East on an annual basis. These days, however, the Eagles have been a consistent NFL powerhouse and one of the teams to beat almost every year in the NFC.

The Eagles’ storied tradition goes all the way back to the 1930s and includes multiple NFL Championships and Super Bowl appearances since. Along the way, the franchise included many All-Pros, Hall of Famers, and Super Bowl champions.

Here’s our list of the ten best to ever don the silver and green.

10. Vic Sears, offensive lineman/defensive tackle

Most young NFL fans probably have never heard the name Vic Sears, but he was like the Deion Sanders of his day. Sears was both an offensive lineman and defensive tackle for the Eagles during the 1940s and early 1950s, helping lead the team to back-to-back NFL Championships in 1948 and 1949. As the story goes, Sears played more minutes on the field than any player in team history. That stat is kind of obvious when you play both sides of the ball. In his career, Sears played in 131 games and had 11 fumble recoveries and one touchdown. The two-time second-team All-Pro is also part of the NFL’s 1940s All-Decade team.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.

9. Jalen Hurts, quarterback

It might seem too soon to add Jalen Hurts to this list but even if you don’t think he’s there yet he’s well on his way. Everyone knows about Hurts’ story. He was the starting quarterback at Alabama who got replaced by Tua Tagavoila in the national championship game and he eventually transferred to Oklahoma, where he became a star and a Heisman finalist. Drafted by the Eagles, he was initially a backup to Carson Wentz but quickly took over the starting role and hasn’t looked back. In just his second season as a full-time starter, he led the Eagles to an NFC Championship and was one play away from winning the Eagles’ second Super Bowl in six years. Dangerous with his arm and legs, Hurts passed for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns while also running for 760 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022. He’s the first true dual-threat quarterback the Eagles have had since Donavon McNabb and he’s just getting started.

8. Ricky Watters, running back

Rickey Watters might have only spent three years with the Eagles but he had a huge impact. The second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame rushed for nearly 4,000 yards in his Eagles career, with his best year coming in 1996 when he rushed for 1,411 yards and 13 touchdowns. Watters ended his NFL career with nearly 10,643 rushing yards, 92 total touchdowns, and a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers. When he retired, Watters was one of only two NFL running backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season for three teams.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) throws during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Broncos 30-27.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (5). Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

7. Donovan McNabb, quarterback

Coming out of Syracuse, Donovan McNabb was a three-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year and made good on the promise of exciting play when he joined Philly. In his time with the Eagles, he made six Pro Bowls, led the NFL in QB wins from 2000 to 2004, and became just the third quarterback since 1970 to lead his team in rushing in a season. He also led Philadelphia to five NFC Championship Game appearances, won one NFC Championship, and played in the team’s first Super Bowl since 1980. McNabb ended his 12-year NFL career with nearly 38,000 passing yards and over 3,400 rushing yards.

6. Harold Carmichael, wide receiver

Harold Carmichael is not only a SWAC legend, but an Eagles legend as well. Carmichael was drafted out of SWAC powerhouse Southern University and spent the majority of his NFL career with the Eagles. During his time with Philadelphia, he garnered four Pro Bowls, was named second-team All-Pro twice, and led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in 1973. Named NFL Man of the Year in 1980, he would be named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and enshrined in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame. He finished his playing career with 590 receptions for 8,985 yards with 79 touchdown catches. Carmichael was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.

5. Ron Jaworski, quarterback

The first Eagles quarterback to lead the team to a Super Bowl, “Jaws” has remained a pivotal figure in Philadelphia Eagles history even as he’s become more well-known for his broadcasting work. While he finished his 10-year stint with the Eagles with a 68-67-1 record, Jaworski initially set just about every franchise record for wins and passing stats. Eventually, those were mostly all surpassed by McNabb, but he remains second on the all-time list for most major passing records. He finished his 17-year career with 2,187 completions for 28,190 yards, 179 touchdowns, and 164 interceptions while also rushing for 859 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91). Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

4. Fletcher Cox, linebacker

Some may think it’s a bit too early for Fletcher Cox to make this list, but his accolades tell a different story. A first-round draft pick out of Mississippi State in 2012, Cox has spent his entire NFL career in Philly. Along with being a six-time Pro Bowler, first-team All-Pro, and three-time second-team All-Pro, he has been an anchor of the Eagles defense that has gone to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. Cox’s best year was 2018 when he had 10.5 sacks. In his career so far, he has over 480 tackles, 65 sacks, and 13 fumble recoveries.

3. Randall Cunningham, quarterback

Before Jalen Hurts and Donovan McNabb, there was Randall Cunningham. Cunningham was an iconic dual-threat quarterback and one of the most exciting players of his era. The University of Nevada product spent 11 seasons with the Eagles, with his best year coming in 1988 when he threw for 3,808 yards and 16 touchdowns while also running for 624 yards and six more scores. After being injured in 1991, Cunningham bounced back the following year to throw for nearly 3,000 yards, and 19 touchdowns, which garnered him NFL Comeback Player of the Year. By the time he left Philadelphia, Cunningham had the third-most rushing yards in Eagles history (4,482), though that’s now sixth. While many of his records have fallen, he’s still the franchise leader with 6.62 yards per rush attempt and 6.5 yards per pass attempt in playoff games.

Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End #92 REGGIE WHITE. Credit: Photo By USA TODAY Sports

2. Reggie White, linebacker

What can you say about the Minister of Defense that hasn’t already been said? White started out playing for the USFL’s Memphis Showboats before moving over to the NFL and the Eagles, where he would terrorize the NFC East for seven years. White’s best year was 1987 when he had an unbelievable 21 sacks. He followed it up with 18 sacks the next season. White finished his career as a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowler, NFL sack leader in 1987 and 1988, and made the NFL All-Decade teams for both the ’80s and ’90s, not to mention the 75th and 100th-year teams as well. He also even actually became a Super Bowl champion, though with the Green Bay Packers. The Pro Football Hall of Famer died tragically the day after Christmas in 2004 at the age of 43.

Chuck Bednarik is introduced at a ceremony honoring the 1960 NFL Championship team . Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chuck Bednarik, linebacker

While White spent half of his NFL career with the Eagles, Chuck Bednarik spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise. The first-round overall pick in the 1949 NFL Draft, the two-time All-American quickly adjusted to the pro game. Over the course of his NFL career, Bednarik was a 10-time first-team All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler, and two-time NFL champion. A member of the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team, he has been named to every major NFL Anniversary All-Time Team as well. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, his first year of eligibility.

Bednarik might have been best known for “The Hit,” which knocked New York Giants running back Frank Gifford out of the game in 1960. Bednarik hit Gifford so hard that he wasn’t able to play football for 18 months. It’s still considered the hardest tackle anyone has ever made in NFL history.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.