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Most indispensable

Posted by Eric Fisher On September 3

As we learned last season, nobody is irreplaceable. Carson Wentz topped our list of indispensable Eagles last season, but the Eagles won the Super Bowl without him. It can be argued that the Eagles might not have made the playoffs without Wentz, but they didn’t need him to win the Super Bowl. (It should be noted that Nick Foles was No. 10 on our list of indispensable Eagles because of the possibility of Wentz suffering an injury.) The Eagles also won the Super Bowl without Jordan Hicks (No. 3), Jason Peters (No. 5) and Darren Sproles (No. 9), all of whom appeared on our Top 10 list last season.

With that caveat, PhillyPhanatics.com presents our preseason top 10 list of the players the Eagles can least afford to lose to injury.

10. Jay Ajayi If Ajayi were to miss a significant number of games, there would be serious questions about whether veteran Darren Sproles and second-year running back Corey Clement could fill the void.

9. Nigel Bradham Jordan Hicks was on this list last season, but perhaps it is Bradham who is more valuable and harder to replace.

8. Nick Foles It was surprising that we put Foles on this list last season. After watching what he did during the postseason, there’s no question that the Super Bowl MVP belongs on this list. The fact that he’s opening the season as the starter elevated him a spot or two.

7. Alshon Jeffery Unless Mike Wallace turns it on when the regular season begins, the Eagles’ receiving corps after Jeffery is young and relatively undistinguished. We may find out how much the Eagles will miss Jeffery right away if, as reported, he misses the first game or two of the season.

6. Jason Peters Halapoulivaati Vaitai filled in admirably last season after Peters suffered a season-ending injury, but the Eagles certainly wouldn’t want to go through that situation again, especially after Vaitai’s awful preseason.

5. Lane Johnson The Eagles were 2-8 in 2016 during Johnson’s 10-game suspension for a second violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. That record can’t all be attributed to Johnson’s absence, but the absence of the starting right tackle didn’t help.

4. Ronald Darby Imagine the Eagles’ cornerback situation without Darby. Now you know why he’s No. 4 on our list.

3. Malcolm Jenkins Ability, versatility and leadership earn Jenkins, who was undervalued at No. 8 last season, a prime place on this season’s list.

2. Carson Wentz If not for the fact that the Eagles won a Super Bowl without him after Dec. 10, as well as the presence of Nick Foles, Wentz would be No. 1 on this list.

1. Fletcher Cox It all starts up front for the Eagles, and the other members of the defensive line would be far less effective without Cox drawing double-teams. Cox is a dominant player on a defense that doesn’t have many Pro Bowl-caliber players.

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