Eagles analysis

Eagles' most dynamic weapon lands on most important list

A.J. Brown had an incredible first season with the Eagles in 2022 and they're expecting the same again this year

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Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2023 season.

25. Nolan Smith
24. Quez Watkins
23. Kenny Gainwell
22. Marcus Mariota
21. Reed Blankenship
20. Brandon Graham
19. D'Andre Swift
18. Avonte Maddox
17. Cam Jurgens
16. Fletcher Cox
15. Landon Dickerson
14. Jordan Davis
13. Nakobe Dean
12. Jalen Carter
11. James Bradberry
10. Jordan Mailata
9. Josh Sweat
8. DeVonta Smith
7. Darius Slay
6. Dallas Goedert
5. Jason Kelce
4. A.J. Brown

It didn’t take very long to realize Howie Roseman’s trade to acquire A.J. Brown was masterful. During the 2022 draft, Roseman shipped a first-round pick and a late-third round pick to Tennessee to get Brown. And then the Eagles gave him a four-year, $100 million contract extension.

In his first year as an Eagle, Brown proved why he was worth all that.

After teaming up with his best friend Jalen Hurts, Brown immediately had the best season of his NFL career on his way to a Pro Bowl nod. Brown caught 88 passes for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022. Brown set an Eagles record for receiving yards in a season, passing Mike Quick’s mark of 1,409 from back in 1983. And Brown’s 88 catches tie him for fourth all-time in an Eagles uniform.

It was one of the best seasons ever for an Eagles wide receiver and Brown did it in his first year in Philadelphia. He has a chance to go down as an all-time great in this city.

And the Eagles need him to keep it up in 2023.

Brown was great all last season but really picked it up late. Over his last six games in the regular season, Brown had 35 catches for 665 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those 665 yards led the NFL by a wide margin. The next-closest player was his teammate DeVonta Smith with 587.

In the Super Bowl, Brown showed up again. He caught 6 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown but the Eagles still fell 38-35 to the Chiefs. It didn’t seem like anyone took the loss as hard as Brown who was still nearly as a loss for words days later as it all began to sink in.

“I’ve got up off the mat every single time in my life. I’m 100 percent,” Brown said at locker cleanout day. “I’m still here. It’s just another time, gotta keep going. Figure out a way to shake back from this and go to work.”

While the Eagles underwent plenty of changes on the defensive side of the ball, they will bring back 9 of 11 starters on offense from the Super Bowl team, including Hurts, Brown and Smith. That trifecta has the chance to become an all-time group.

Hurts and Brown were best friends before they got a chance to play together for the first time last season. They’re still building that rapport and will be together for at least several more seasons. Even in Year 1, Hurts showed how much he trusted Brown. He would constantly throw to him in situations where Brown wasn’t clearly open. Hurts trusts Brown to come down with the rock and Brown did that pretty consistently in 2022.

The crazy thing is that Brown just turned 26 on June 30.

In the last five years there have been just 8 players to have 1,400+ receiving yards before their 26th birthday: Michael Thomas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans, Justin Jefferson (3x), Deebo Samuel, Ja’Marr Chase and Brown.

“He’s a worker and I’m really glad he’s here,” Eagles WRs coach Aaron Moorehead said during Super Bowl week. “Not only only the field but also off the field. He’s brought so much to our receiver room and he’s helped DeVonta grow tremendously in his second year. And I think DeVonta has helped him grow as a player as well. Just the competitiveness between the two of them has definitely helped.”

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