Flyover Breakdowns: Is Landon Dickerson the heir to the throne?
When the Eagles selected Alabama center Landon Dickerson with the 37th pick during last week’s NFL Draft, it wasn’t the most flashy selection. Some fans were upset the Eagles missed out on prospects like JOK and Christian Barmore, but many understood the reasoning behind the pick. Jason Kelce isn’t going to be around forever, and Dickerson is a fantastic prospect. He exemplifies many of the same characteristics as Kelce on and off the field and is an excellent prospect barring injuries.
Since the early 2000s, the Philadelphia Eagles have been very stable at the center position. Jamaal Jackson was the Eagles’ center from 2005 through 2009, and there was just one season in between until Jason Kelce took over in 2011. Consistency on the offensive line is crucial and was the main reason why the group struggled in 2020, more so than talent.
Having stability in the middle is crucial for any football team, and the Eagles have been blessed with that over the last 15 years. Hopefully, when it is Dickerson’s turn, he can continue this trend for the Eagles going forward. His turn could be sooner rather than later. Kelce is going to be 34 this season and has been contemplating retirement for numerous seasons now.
On the field, there is not much, if anything, to critique about Landon Dickerson. His football IQ is tremendous, and he can make split-second decisions with mistakes being few and far between. There have been numerous situations where Landon goes off script and changes his blocking scheme to allow the running back to have a much bigger gain. When looking at the film, there are several examples of these perfect reads of the defense.
During pass protection, Dickerson can identify stunts and fans off his blocking responsibility, cutting off the stunting linemen, allowing the QB several more seconds in the pocket. Also, if the defender puts themselves in a bad position for just one second, Dickerson takes advantage and removes them from the play entirely.
To continue the comparisons between Dickerson and Kelce, Landon has shown flashes of being a great blocker in the open field, just like Kelce. He can get in front of quick defenders and stop them in their tracks immediately. Alongside the numerous examples on the field, Dickerson is a leader just like Kelce is off the field. During the 2020 season, Landon was named a captain for Alabama alongside fellow Eagle DeVonta Smith.
“You can call it leadership or whatever you want, I care for every single guy I played with, I loved being a part of a football team. That’s the biggest thing. I just care for my teammates and I love each and every one of them because we’re a select group of guys who come to work every day knowing that we want to get better.”
Like mentioned earlier, the main concern with Dickerson is his health. When he played with Florida State, Landon tore his right ACL in 2016 and had an undisclosed severe ankle injury that required surgery in 2017. Following the transfer to Alabama, he tore his left ACL this past season. Currently, Dickerson looks healthy, doing cartwheels at Mac Jones’ pro day. In the short term, I’m not too worried, especially since Brandon Brooks is incredible despite two Achilles tears. The one concern, in my opinion, would be general wear and tear slowing him down sooner in his career than others.
Overall, there is a lot to like about Landon Dickerson with the Philadelphia Eagles. If these injuries don’t persist, the Eagles have their center of the future when Jason Kelce hangs them up, and he should be able to transition without a hitch.