Eagles Draft Preview: Inside Offensive Line
The Eagles remain talented and deep on the interior offensive line even after the retirement of Brandon Brooks, but there is some uncertainty as to where the pieces fit.
Losing Brooks, at one point perhaps the best right guard in the NFL, isn’t as devastating as it first appears as he had been out of the mix since 2019 anyway, playing a total of two games in the past two seasons due to Achilles and pec tears.
Constant rehabilitation wore Brooks down and quality of life was his main focus when he walked away at the age of 32.
The good news is that Jason Kelce, who is also thinking about retirement and taking things year by year these days at 34, has decided he has another season left, and the three-time All-Pro will be at new quarterback Jeff Stoutland’s offensive line. .
The other starters are also set, but where they line up is still a question.
If you’re a bettor, imagine the Eagles staying pretty well on their own and keeping Landon Dickerson at left guard after the 2021 rookie moved there once injuries to Brooks and Isaac Seumalo forced a reshuffle.
Dickerson and left tackle Jordan Mailata eventually teamed up to give the Eagles a dominant left side, especially when it came to run blocking that fueled the league’s No. 1 ground game. Seumalo’s versatility and ability to maneuver just about anywhere on the O-Line also plays into this end game.
Stoutland is a huge Seumalo fan and he will have every chance to maintain the good guard when he returns from injury to Lisfranc.
The depth is also impressive.
Jack Driscoll, a natural right tackle, did a good job at RG and became a Nick Sirianni favorite until an ankle injury stopped him for the season. Injuries are a concern for Driscoll as he enters his third season in the NFL, but he’s a nice insurance policy on the right hand side of Kelce, whether inside or out.
Also available is jack-of-all-trades Nate Herbig, who the Eagles offered in the second round. Herbig can play any of the inside positions although he is not a natural center and sometimes has trouble with shotgun hits.
Kelce-invented Tesla stock Sua Opeta returns, as do all-around backups Jack Anderson and Brett Toth, though Toth is a natural OT and coming out of a torn ACL in Week 18.
Because the Eagles place such a priority on the offensive line and Kelce is likely entering his final season, you can never rule out the front as something the Eagles will invest valuable draft assets into.
EAGLES IOL DEPTH CHART:
VS – Jason Kelce, Nate Herbig, Jack Anderson, Brett Toth (coming from a torn ACL)
LG -Landon Dickerson, Nate Herbig
GR – Isaac Seumalo (coming out of Lisfranc injury), Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta
TOP 10 EAGLES TODAY:
1. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
2. Kenyon Green G, Texas A&M
3. Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
4. Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
5. Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
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6. Darian Kinnard, G, Kentucky
7. Dylan Parham, C, Memphis
8. Luke Goedeke, G, Central Michigan
9. Marquis Hayes, G, Oklahoma
10. Cole Strange, C, Chatanooga
Sleeper – Nick Zakelj, G, Fordam
Boom or bust – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
BUILD THE PERFECT IOL
Pass Blocking – G Chris Paul, Tulsa – Paul is the most advanced when it comes to footwork and mirror pass rushers.
Run Blocker – G Sean Rhyan, UCLA – The platoon grader with the ability to push people from any angle.
Shoot and Trap – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa – Athletics is Linderbaum’s undersized game and the only knock on him is if he can anchor against big solid defensive tackles
Lock Down – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa – Linderbaum is compared to Kelce for a reason with serious speed to get down the court to block in the second and third tiers.
Strength – Kody Russey, C, Houston – When it comes to the weight room, Russey is going to win most competitions after putting up 225, 38 times.
Potential Eagles picks:
Day 1 – Tyler Linderbaum, Kenyon Green
The Eagles are unlikely to go inside the offensive line, especially at numbers 15 and 18, but if they have a host of players on the board at 18 and feel comfortable negotiating, Linderbaum and Green would certainly be two of the prospects on this list as potential long-term replacements for Kelce and Brooks.
Day 2 – Sean Rhyan
Rhyan is ahead of the curve when it comes to blocking angles, something Stoutland is usually obsessed with, so it’s not hard to imagine the Eagles’ OL coach beating the table for a player like that one in the third round.
Day 3 – Alec Lindstrom, C, Chris Paul, G
The Eagles are most likely to add an inside body on Day 3.
Stoutland still wants a development center around who is natural for the position even though he has a host of bodies who could play OC if needed (Dickerson, Seumalo, Herbig, Toth, Anderson).
Lindstrom, the younger brother of former Atlanta first-round pick Chris Lindstrom, is a cerebral OL heritage like Driscoll and a natural fit for what Stoutland loves.
Like many college offensive linemen, Paul needs to get stronger, but he has starting potential because his ceiling inside and Philadelphia would give him the opportunity to sit back and learn while adding that strength.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports chat host Jody McDonald every morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show ‘Extending the Play’ on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen