Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Top 5 MLB's

Here is the 4th installment of Ray Didinger's Top 5's. Click here for Safeties, Corners and OLB's.

1. Chuck Bednarik (1949-62)- A native of Bethlehem, Bednarik earned All-America honors at the University of Pennsylvania and played a record 14 seasons with the Eagles. His eight Pro Bowl appearances are a team record. For much of his career, Bednarik played both ways: center on offense, linebacker on defense. In 1960, at age 35, he played almost 60 minutes a game as the Eagles won the NFL championship. In his book Pro Football’s 100 Greatest Players, Hall of Fame coach George Allen ranked Bednarik as his No. 1 linebacker ahead of Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke. Jim Brown, the great Cleveland fullback who butted heads with Bednarik dozens of times, said: “Chuck was as great as any linebacker who ever played.”

2. Bill Bergey (1974-80) - Bergey was 6-2 and played around 245 pounds for most of his career. It was unfortunate that he spent his peak years playing on a defense that wasn’t very good. From 1974 through ’77, he played behind a line that was either pancaked or pushed back into his lap on almost every play. Still, he fought through the rubble and made the tackle.

3. Jeremiah Trotter (1998-2001, 2004-06)- At 6-1 and 262 pounds, Trotter was a powerful force in the middle who blossomed when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson started using him as a run blitzer. Trotter would shoot the gap between the center and guard and blow up the middle of the line. He was one of the few linebackers strong enough to jack up a 320-pound offensive lineman and he did it all the time. Trotter was a fierce competitor who, along with safety Brian Dawkins, provided the emotional leadership for the Eagles defense.

4. Byron Evans (1987-94) - Ryan’s defense called for a middle linebacker who could cover a lot of ground. Because Ryan blitzed outside linebackers and safeties so often, the middle linebacker was forced to drop into the deep middle as a pass defender.

He led the team in tackles (184) in his first full season as a starter, 1989. He had three games that season in which he had 20 or more tackles, including a career high 22 in a Monday night game against the Bears. Like Bergey and Trotter, Evans’ career was ended by a knee injury. He was only 29 when he played his last game in 1994.

5. Dave Lloyd (1963-70)- Lloyd is one of the more underrated players in Eagles history. The Eagles put him at middle linebacker and he found a home for eight seasons. Lloyd was an unusually big linebacker for that time at 6-3 and 245-pounds. He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 1969 season.

DirtyWudders can speak of the top 4 but only saw 3 and 4 play. Here is Dirty Wudders list of MLB's during our time..

1. Trotter
2. B&E
3. James Willis - Though not a great MLB - DW remembers him for solidifying the win against Dallas in which he intercepted a Troy Aikman pass and pitched it to Troy Vincent for a 104 yard TD.
4. Stewert Bradley (2007 - )
5. Kurt Gouveia (1995)- Slim pickens. He led the Birds in tackles in his one season.

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