Why the Eagles made the right call taking an Offensive Lineman in the third round

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Last night the Eagles drafted versatile 300 pound lineman Isaac Seumalo out of Oregon State. Despite some big additions in free agency, the Offensive Line was still a position that lacked depth, but some people are slightly frustrated they passed on taking an impact player. Here’s why fans should be optimistic with the pick.

 

The Swan:
As well as needing help when it comes to running the ball the Eagles also need help creating the holes in the first place. Last season, the birds struggled to not only create holes for their backs to run through leaving them to bounce to the outside, but also struggled to stop the holes and indeed the line itself collapsing.

With two major off-season signings and the drafting of a player who’s not only powerful but has experience in every position on the line, the Eagles now have much more leniency when it comes to creating rushing opportunities. They can very easily rotate Seumalo in and out of the game at will which benefits the remaining linemen in numerous ways. When you see an efficient runner, you see the elegance, the power and the efficiency. You very rarely notice how dominant an Offensive Line becomes yet when it all falls apart, it’s the first thing that comes up. By adding a talented and fast lineman who fits the Eagles needs perfectly, the birds are setting up to help the Swan swim as beautifully as it should.

 

Fortify the future:
We all know that Jason Peters isn’t a long term option on the left hand side and with Johnson set to move over once his time comes, the Eagles will need a starter ready to handle the outside pressure. With Johnson’s future secure and former free-agents looking to secure theirs, the Eagles suddenly have a very interesting line.

Carson Wentz played behind a very dominant line in college. A line that allowed NDSU to run the ball 61% of the time in 2015 and let up just 8 sacks on Wentz in 7 games. By focusing on the Offensive Line immediately after drafting Wentz, the Eagles are expressing eagerness to ensure that Wentz walks in to the best situation possible when his time is ready. By the time Wentz is expected to start, Seumalo may well have developed into a bonafide starter, ironed out his technical flaws and turned into an Offensive Line cornerstone. If he hasn’t, he will at least prove to be invaluable as his versatility provides depth at every position on the line, preparing the Eagles to deal with injury effectively. Combine that with the projected development of Brooks, the dominance of Johnson and a (hopefully) reliable center in Jason Kelce and all of a sudden you have a comfortable situation for Wentz to walk into.

 

Priorities:
The front office seem to be very aware of the issues the team are facing currently, both on and off the field. The Eagles were frantic in their signings this off-season, but by focusing on the line despite losing a third round pick and therefore knowingly missing out on perhaps more impactful talents in other positions. This, after investing their first rounder in a player who won’t likely see the field for a while shows a willingness to fix the present as well as build the future.

Adding a player who will benefit a Quarterback adamant that the Eagles were doing the opposite is one thing.. but adding a player and a further two in free agency to try and stop leaking unneccesary pressure on an injury-prone Quarterback who was often forced into bad throws during the early stages of last season, is a strong sign that the Eagles are still trying to give him the best chance of success and haven’t given up on him just yet.

 

The view:
With Howie Roseman referring to each off-season signing as a “mid-round pick” in terms of value, it would be fair to say that of all the glaring needs on the roster (Secondary, Line, Receivers, Pass Rush), the line has had the least amount re-enforcement, be it through contract extensions or free agents. By drafting a player so versatile who can likely compete for a starting role, the birds are trying to make sure that each position is upgraded sufficiently and until recently, the Line simply wasn’t. Roseman knows what he’s doing in this scenario and this pick should re-establish the trust lost by some fans after his inconsistent draft history.

 

Photo credit: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

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