In the early 2010’s Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Todd Herramans and Jason Kelce offered a solid OL full of All-Pro and Pro-Bowl players. The names have changed over the years but the level of play along the offensive front has remained the same.
Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson came later. Stefan Wisnewski, Isaac Seumalo, and Big V were needed additions of depth.
The Eagles said an emotional goodbye to Brandon Brooks this week. Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce continue to get older and their futures become murkier, meaning that the Eagles need to turn to their younger core to usher in a new era of dominance along the OL.
It just so happens Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jack Driscoll, and Nate Herbig seem up to the task.
Driscoll and Herbig – the new Big V and Wisnewski
Jack Driscoll has had an injury-plagued start to his NFL career. Yet, when he has played, he’s played pretty well.
Driscoll started nine games in 2021 with a PFF grade of 70.5, well above average for a 4th round swing OL. At one point before his injury, he was the 20th ranked guard by PFF. That’s pretty impressive considering he was drafted for his flexibility on the line.
Then you look at a player like Nate Herbig. When you consider the fact the Eagles have molded an undrafted Guard to being a reliable and steady backup on the offensive line, it’s pretty damn special.
Driscoll and Herbig look more and more like the Big V and Wisnewski of the 2017 season for the Eagles: players who came in due to injuries elsewhere and proved they could not only hang with the big dogs, but ensure that sinister reputation doesn’t drop.
Throw in that both are under 25 and the roster depth looks salivating.
Who knew drafting players from Bama would work out?
There was a sense of initial confusion when the Eagles looked to draft Dickerson because he was coming off major surgery and there were other needs on the roster. When he finally got the chance to play after missing the entirety of his first offseason, he showed how dominant he can be at both guard and center.
The best way to really show how great he was as a rookie is to look at what he did to Vita Vea in the wild card game.
It was definitely a rocky start to the season for Dickerson, but such a promising end it leaves plenty of hope for Eagles fans. Factor in a full offseason with Jeff Stoutland pushing him and it’s easy to project his growth into one of the best Guards in football.
The crown jewel of Jeff Stoutland’s career.
We all know the story. The Eagles drafted Mailata in the 7th round having not played a down of football in his life. Stoutland took Mailata as a ball of clay and molded him into one of the best LT’s in the game.
Mailata’s PFF grade was an elite 87.4 this season, which was third in the entire NFL. He was adored by NFL analysts all season.
Even though Trent Williams and Tyron Smith both got All-Pro nods, Mailata is considerably younger and is tied to the Eagles for another four years.
The combination of Mailata and Dickerson on the left side of the line is similar to Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson on the right, or Jason Peters and Evan Mathis on the left.
Either way, Mailata is one of the best athletes on the team and it’s left a bright future for the Eagles.
A potential Rookie?
Whether it’s Tyler Linderbaum in the first round or Chris Lindstrom later in the draft, the Eagles have a strong pedigree of early and late draft picks that pan out across the offensive line. Most people see the Eagles taking an offensive lineman early due to the aging Kelce or Johnson.
If there’s a position to trust Howie Roseman and the front office in the draft, it is always the offensive line.
The Eagles have a strong history of great offensive line groups. The future of the position group is as strong as any other on the roster. And it will only get better as long as Jeff Stoutland is still the OL Coach.
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