HomeDa Birds NewsReed Blankenship Tops Pro Bowl Voting for His Position

Reed Blankenship Tops Pro Bowl Voting for His Position

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PHILADELPHIA – Maybe it was his interception of Aaron Rodgers in a primetime game last year. Maybe it’s all the nationally televised games the Philadelphia Eagles play. Maybe he is just that good.

Whatever it is, and it’s probably all the above and more, it hasn’t taken very long for second-year Eagles strong safety Reed Blankenship to make a name for himself. It’s a name that appeared on the NFL’s first release of fan voting for the Pro Bowl when Blankenship was listed as getting the most votes of any NFC strong safety.

“It’s not surprising,” said Eagles cornerback James Bradberry. “I see the work Reed puts in. He’s a very important piece to this defense. I feel like he’s our physical enforcer. He’s been making a lot of big-time tackles for us. He’s made some plays in the pass game as well, so it’s not surprising to me.”

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It wasn’t until his fifth season that Bradberry made his one and only Pro Bowl, and he had to go to New York to play for the Giants to make it happen after four seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

“It took me some time,” he said. “I was also playing for the New York Giants versus when I was playing for the Panthers, so I was on TV and in a bigger division. The fans up here are way different than the ones in the NFC South.” Despite their league-high 10 wins, the Eagles have just two players leading the NFC fan voting. In addition to Blankenship, the other is center Jason Kelce.

The release only includes two tackles, one each in both conferences, so Lane Johnson, who is certainly deserving, isn’t listed.

The NFC leader at tackle is Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers. Eagles kicker Jake Elliott isn’t the leader at his position, either. Right now, the kicker is Brandon Aubrey of the Dallas Cowboys.

Eagles safety Reed Blankenship

 

The Pro Bowl, of course, isn’t as significant as making it to the Super Bowl, which doing so disqualifies players from playing in the big game, but it is still a significant achievement to earn the honor.

Blankenship declined to talk about the Pro Bowl when asked on Thursday about leading the fan vote. “I saw a couple things,” he said, “but at the end of the day, I’m focusing on Dallas. Yeah, it’s cool. But like I said, I gotta worry about Dallas first. It would mean a lot, but I can’t look at that right now.”

The Eagles (10-2) will play the Cowboys (9-3) in a primetime game on Sunday night in Dallas, and it’s another chance for Blankenship to showcase his game.

He leads Philly in tackles with 77 despite missing two games and his two interceptions are tied for the team lead with Darius Slay.

Blankenship arrived last year as an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State, where he started for five years and was a three-time captain, and was inactive for six of his first seven games. He played two defensive snaps against the Indianapolis Colts, the first two of his career, then the following week he entered a national-televised game against Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers after Chauncey Gardner-Johnson suffered a lacerated kidney. He promptly picked off Rodgers, making him the first UDFA to ever intercept Rodgers.

Blankenship, who finished that game against the Packers with six tackles, would go on to make four starts the rest of the season and was anointed the starter during this past offseason. “Last year, he made some good plays, came in and filled a role when Chauncey went down,” said Bradberry. “I think he put his name out there. Of course, when you make a big play on a big-time quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, it definitely puts you out there.” “Then we’re also playing more on TV, a lot more primetime games and stuff, so his name is being put out there.”

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