44. Halapoulivaati Vitai – Left Tackle – Philadelphia Eagles
Aside from losing superstar quarterback Carson Wentz, there wasn’t a more devastating injury for the Eagles this season than losing All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters. The future Hall of Famer remains one of the best in the league, and is an irreplaceable leader. However, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has had to take on the unenviable task. Only in his second year in the league, the 2016 fifth-round pick has improved as the season has worn on, but is clearly the weakest link on Philly’s vaunted offensive line.
43. Elandon Roberts – Linebacker – New England Patriots
Much like the aforementioned Vitai, Elandon Roberts has taken on the difficult task of trying to replace a stalwart in his team’s starting lineup. A season-ending injury to Dont’a Hightower forced Roberts into a bigger role, and the Houston alum has seen mixed results. According to Pro Football Focus, he doesn’t grade exceptionally well against the run (40.9 out of 100) or pass (46.5), but is an above average pass rusher. Having only recorded more than 9 tackles once in 33 career NFL games, it’s unlikely Roberts will have a big impact on this game’s outcome.
42. Eric Rowe – Cornerback – New England Patriots
If there’s one player who will have revenge on his mind in Super Bowl LII, it’s Eric Rowe. Originally drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2015 Draft, he was traded to New England for a 2018 fourth round pick after only one season in Philly. A torn groin sidelined him for much of the regular season, but New England will need its nickel cornerback at full strength in this one. With Rowe expected to match up against Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz in the slot for much of the game, this is a match-up the Eagles will try to exploit.
41. Torrey Smith – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles
Of the 116 wide receivers who played enough snaps to be rated by Pro Football Focus, Torrey Smith ranked an uninspiring 101st. Smith was Joe Flacco’s favorite down-field threat when he was on the Baltimore Ravens, but now as a member of the Eagles, the 28 year-old has clearly lost a step and has yet to build a similar rapport with Carson Wentz or Nick Foles. He’s coming off one of his better games as an Eagle, hauling in 5 catches for 69 yards and 1 touchdown in the NFC Championship win over the Vikings, but New England is much more worried about shutting down Philly’s other pass catchers.
40. Deatrich Wise – Defensive End – New England Patriots
Much like Elandon Roberts, Deatrich Wise is another player for the Patriots tasked with helping fill the void left by Dont’a Hightower. Wise put together a solid rookie year while seeing limited snaps, tallying 5.0 sacks in the regular season. In two postseason games, Wise already has 2.0 sacks, but he is slated to square off against stud right tackle Lane Johnson in this one. Any ounce of pressure the 6-foot-5, 271-pounder can provide against Philly’s top tackle would be a huge win for New England.
Image Sources: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports, Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports, Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports, Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports, David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports