Eagles offensive line ranks as one of NFL’s best heading into 2021
Injuries took a toll on the Eagles offensive line in 2020. Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles before the season even started and Lane Johnson was basically playing on one leg half the year. Across the board the Eagles had 14 different OL combinations last season, allowing their QB to sacked 65 times (15 more than any other team).
Eagles played with just 4 offensive lineman yesterday.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 19, 2020
Jamon Brown has 0.5 sacks on the year. pic.twitter.com/aWQ8GKbox1
Heading into 2021, the Eagles look to have their offensive line at full health as Jalen Hurts prepares for his first year as a starter. PFF recently released their offensive line rankings and they’re optimistic that the Eagles’ unit will return to one of the league’s best:
Offensive Tackle Rankings:
“Injuries have hindered Johnson over the past few years, but he’s still managed to produce at a high level. However, that’s with exception of his run-blocking in 2020, as his grade fell outside the top 10 among tackles for just the second time in his NFL career. Johnson was fantastic in pass protection, though. He posted an 83.1 pass-blocking grade and allowed only two pressures through his first six starts.
He played through nagging injuries in 2018 and still looked like a top-10 tackle. Before he went down in 2019, causing him to miss the last few weeks of the season, Johnson was the second-highest-graded tackle in the NFL. When fully healthy, he is among the best at his craft.“
Offensive Guard Rankings:
“If injury wasn’t a factor, you could justifiably argue that Brooks would rank third behind Nelson and Martin on the list. He was the best guard in the NFL in 2019, but then a torn Achilles tendon put him out of the 2020 season. When we last saw him play, he gave up just 20 pressures in 16 games while dominating in the run game. If that player returns, he will leap up this ranking.“
“Seumalo’s PFF pass-blocking grade has improved for three straight seasons now, with his 2020 mark of 77.4 representing a career-high figure despite the situation outside of him not being ideal. Injury robbed us of a complete campaign and career year overall, but Seumalo has now developed into a quality starter for an Eagles line that was in need of a transition in personnel.“
Kelce falls on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Hudson and Tretter. There are few years in his career where he has graded out higher as a pass protector than he has as a run blocker, but that’s primarily because he’s been one of the best run-blocking centers in the NFL. That was no different at 33 years old in 2020. Kelce was the lone staple in an ever-changing offensive line in Philadelphia, and his 79.0 run-blocking grade ranked as a top-five mark at the position.
In totality, the Eagles have three top-10 offensive linemen; which’ll go a long way in the development of Jalen Hurts. Additionally, the team added C Landon Dickerson in the draft and have young talent in Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard waiting in the wings.
Miles Sanders was also 5th in the NFL in yards per attempt among running backs last season. One has to imagine that Sanders will be even more effective on the ground with a stable offensive line.
Kelce stated last week that the Eagles can still be competitive in the NFC East while retooling. They’ll have a good chance to do so if they stay healthy and keep Jalen Hurts upright.