Loaded Ea­gles:

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Nate Davis

The de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons are among the best at many po­si­tional groups.

The NFL’s best are rec­og­nized an­nu­ally when Pro Bowl bal­lots are col­lected and all-pro votes tab­u­lated.

But if you had to build an ideal ros­ter by cherry-pick­ing the best po­si­tional groups by team from through­out the league, how would a su­per team look?

Quar­ter­backs — Ea­gles: Car­son Wentz al­most surely would have been league MVP in 2017 had he avoided a late-sea­son knee in­jury. Nick Foles didn’t miss a beat, win­ning Su­per Bowl MVP hon­ors. Even third-stringer Nate Sud­feld seems to have a promis­ing fu­ture.

Run­ning backs — Saints: Last sea­son, Pro Bowlers Alvin Ka­mara and Mark In­gram be­came the first team­mates to sur­pass 1,500 yards from scrim­mage in the same sea­son. Ka­mara is known for his re­ceiv­ing prow­ess yet led the NFL with 6.1 yards per carry in 2017. In­gram has been the Saints’ lead­ing rusher in each of the past four years but doesn’t get enough credit for his hands.

Wide re­ceivers/tight ends — Chiefs: In terms of pure depth, the Ea­gles have a strong case. But when it comes to a top-end trio, no team has a bet­ter chance of pro­duc­ing three 1,000yard pass catch­ers than the Chiefs’ combo of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins.

Of­fen­sive line — Ea­gles: Ja­son Peters is com­ing back from a ma­jor knee in­jury but re­mains one of the premier left tack­les. Mo­bile C Ja­son Kelce and maul­ing RT Lane John­son earned all-pro hon­ors while G Bran­don Brooks emerged as a Pro Bowler. Ste­fen Wis­niewski can play guard or cen­ter, while Chance War­mack and Isaac Seu­malo bol­ster in­te­rior depth. And let’s not for­get Halapouli­vaati “Big V” Vaitai, who ca­pa­bly pro­tected Wentz and Foles last sea­son af­ter Peters went down.

De­fen­sive line — Jaguars: The Ea­gles were loaded be­fore adding Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. But the Jaguars’ front pro­duced 47 of the team’s 55 sacks in 2017. Calais Campbell and Ma­lik Jack­son can cause havoc from in­side and out. Rookie first-rounder Taven Bryan should thrive un­der their tute­lage. Yan­nick Ngak­oue is a ris­ing star as a pass rusher with 20 sacks over his first two sea­sons. For­mer all-pro Mar­cell Dareus has been un­able to dis­lodge tackle Abry Jones from the start­ing lineup. Though Dante Fowler has been a dis­ap­point­ment, he can bring a fast­ball off the edge in sub pack­ages.

Lineback­ers — Bron­cos: Denver’s Von Miller is the league’s pre-emi­nent edge rusher. Yet the Bron­cos are more than a one-man band. Shaquil Bar­rett and Shane Ray can cause havoc out­side; even so, both are go­ing to lose snaps to first-round pick Bradley Chubb. Bran­don Mar­shall and Todd Davis are more than solid in­side but could be pushed them­selves by rookie Josey Jewell.

Sec­ondary — Rams: The Jaguars’ Jalen Ram­sey and A.J. Bouye are the top cor­ner tan­dem, and it’s tough to find a bet­ter safety combo than Min­nesota’s Harrison Smith and An­drew Sen­dejo. But for the com­plete pack­age, it’s tough to beat the Rams. Pro Bowl cor­ners Aqib Talib and Mar­cus Peters are new to the pro­gram, which al­ready had a solid nickel in Nick­ell Robey-Cole­man. The Rams think so much of La­mar­cus Joyner that he got the fran­chise tag. He and John John­son start at safety, but both have ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing cor­ner.

Special teams — Rams: KR-PR Pharoh Cooper, K Greg Zuer­lein and P Johnny Hekker dou­bled as all-pros and Pro Bowlers in 2017. Hekker could go down as one of the best pun­ters in his­tory.


Pro Bowl corner­back Aqib Talib, above, joined a star-stud­ded Rams sec­ondary in Los An­ge­les in the off­sea­son.

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