Why the Eagles drafted Dylan McMahon: A look at Stoutland University’s newest enrolment

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 21: Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland prior to the National Football League game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles aced the 2024 NFL Draft and while a lot of the spotlight rightfully remains on the stars selected in the opening two rounds, it’s important to focus on the sleepers drafted much later too.

Dylan McMahon was drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round this year. A versatile lineman out of NC State, McMahon’s arrival has largely been overshadowed due to the magnitude of prospect taken before him, but that’s a tale that Eagles GM Howie Roseman knows all too well.

Cinematic parallels

A long time ago, in a Draft not so far away, the Birds selected Cincinnati’s Jason Kelce in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. An undersized center with a freakishly-athletic build, Kelce would go on to carve out a legacy as one of the best centers to ever play the game – something that isn’t lost on the rookie lineman.

Right. Yeah, I would say he’s [Former Eagles C Jason Kelce] the best center to ever do it. I would say I looked at his game a lot because of how — I’m an undersized guy, and watching him be able to play the way he did, his leverage and skillset, trying to take any little bits and pieces I can from his game is what I tried to implement this year at my level. Being able to be at a place he was at is an honor just to be there.

Obviously, projecting a Hall of Fame trajectory for a sixth-round pick before OTA’s of his rookie season would be outlandish, but when you turn on the tape, there is at least enough to be optimistic about when it comes to long-term development.

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-17. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Who is Eagles rookie Dylan McMahon?

Having made starts at every spot on the interior front, McMahon is as versatile as they come. Surprisingly, his tape at center far exceeds when he plays at guard. There looks to be a little more confidence and ‘edge’ to his play when it comes to engaging in blocks, and while that doesn’t disappear entirely when playing further out, he plays a little more patiently.

It’s interesting then that in his introductory press conference, McMahon explained how much he loved playing at center:

This year they needed me at center and I love playing center. That’s my favorite position to play. Just being able to plug and play anywhere the coaches need or anywhere I can help out is what I really pride myself in. Being able to be that team player for any of the guys that might need me to step up in one of those positions.

McMahon displays great discipline and blocking fundamentals when engaged. Picking up twists and stunts appeared light work for the NC State product, especially in the game against Clemson.

He leverages his body well and is able to keep a wide stance throughout. However, (usually at guard), he can sometimes get a little happy with his feet, leading to defenders being given an upper-hand, breezing past his exposed shoulder with a bull-rush on too many occasions.

What’s clear is that there is a solid floor of fundamentals and some immediate flaws and weaknesses in his game that will need work. Considering the Stoutland University he’s just enrolled too, it’s safe to say he should be in pretty good hands.

McMahon also expressed how excited he is to learn from some of the best linemen in the league:

“I think that’s what I’m most excited for, just to get in there and learn from those guys. It’s one the best offensive line groups in the country. Just to be able to learn from guys like [G] Landon Dickerson and [G/C] Cam Jurgens who was there learning from [Former C] Kelce the past two years, and then [T Jordan] Mailata and [T] Lane Johnson, just the experience they have on the outside and just being able to get in that room and absorb all the knowledge they have is just going to be an amazing experience, and to be able to take any bits and pieces I can from them is going to be awesome.”

With a real strength at center, it looks as though the Eagles could well be planning to hang their hat on McMahon as a developmental backup for years to come. His versatility is a huge calling-card for sure and will be invaluable should injuries ever occur. However, with a natural preference of playing at center which is also reflected by much better play, Jeff Stoutland is going to have fun moulding an undersized and wildly athletic lineman just like he did with Jason Kelce for all those years.

Jason Kelce eagles super bowl
FILE – Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) blocks during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. Eagles center Jason Kelce has told teammates he intends to retire after 13 NFL seasons, according to three people informed of the decision. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, out of respect for Kelce’s decision, which has not yet been made public. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire