By Dylan MacKinnon
Last week we looked at WR, and the complete lack of talent the Eagles have there. But that is far from the only issue the Eagles face on their roster as they try to get back to what they were. This year they pick at 6, and as we debate who they should take there, it’s worth considering what position will help them the most. So with WRs covered last time, let’s look at the O Line this week.
Eagles gave up sacks at an almost historic pace this year, with 65 in total. Carson Wentz was sacked 50 times in 11 and a half games. Jalen Hurts was sacked 13 times in 4 games. And then Nate Sudfeld was sacked twice in his one quarter of play. Combined, they would be the 4th most sacked QB in a single season ever. They were the only team to allow at least 4 sacks per game. Wentz led the league in times sacked despite not playing in the last 4 games.
Getting older and Oft Injured
Jason Kelce was the only projected starter to not miss any games. Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard missed the whole season. Lane only played in 9 games, and didn’t even play the whole game in all of those. In fact, the projected starters played 37.2% of the snaps.
The good news at O line is Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks will be back next year. The bad news is everything thing else along the O Line. Kelce is 33, Johnson will be 31 at the start of the next season, and Brooks will be 32. Brooks and Johnson together have missed 30 games the last 3 seasons. Then there is Kelce who never misses games, but mulls retirement every offseason.
Those 3 when healthy make for an amazing right side of the line, but we do not know if they will be available, or how long they will be here.
The Left Side
The two other spots on the line are younger, but no less injured. Isaac Seumalo missed 7 games this year. Though while there is a narrative out there Seumalo hasn’t been good, the underlying numbers suggest he performed at a high level. He was 4th in both pass block win rate, and run block win rate, per ESPN Stats and Info.
Many will say that Issac Seumalo isn’t that good, but the actual numbers suggest otherwise. He was 4th in both Pass And Run Block Win Rate, Per ESPN Stats and Info. pic.twitter.com/QtDmaQLzLi— Dylan MacKinnon (@DylanFMackinnon) January 12, 2021
Then there is LT. The current options are either Andre Dillard, who missed all 16 games this year, or Jordan Mailata. Mailata allowed 7 sacks in 732 snaps, which is a sack every 105 snaps. Not great, but he showed promise. Dillard allowed 4 sacks in 336 snaps in 2019, which is one sack every 84 snaps. To be fair, his one start at RT plays a big part in that, and that is on the Eagles for putting a guy at RT when he publicly said it was something difficult for him to do.
At LT they have two guys who could fill that spot, but both are question marks. However, there are former linemen who think Mailata has what it takes to be the long term starter. Including Barrett Brooks who said as much on the air with Devon Givens.
Some of the backups also played well. Nate Herbig in particular is worth praising. He allowed only 2 sacks in 894 snaps, and both of those sacks were before week 8. In the back half of the year he established himself as a good pass blocking guard.
It is perhaps not as pressing a need as the other positions, but it’s like a dam in disrepair. If Eagles ignore the leaks, it could very soon break. It may be best to preemptively pave in those cracks, and prevent disaster.
Does that mean spend the first round pick? Not necessarily. The only Offensive lineman projected to go that high, Penei Sewell, will likely be off the board by then, so it could not even be an option. It may be something they will have to address later in the draft. But the disaster that was their O Line this year should certainly have them thinking about the position. The retuning injured players should be enough to fix the o line next year. But the future of the position is not so set.