Philadelphia Eagles: Stefen Wisniewski, home run king?

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

At Carson Wentz’s AO1 charity softball game, the Philadelphia Eagles starting guard proved that he can do a whole lot more than just maul defensive tackles.

Stefen Wisniewski: Slugger?

While this may be a strange way to describe the Philadelphia Eagles‘ starting left guard, after pulling out a surprise victory in the home run derby at Carson Wentz‘s Audience of 1 Foundation charity softball game, it’s yet another accolade that will forever be attached to his name.

Kind of like Super Bowl champion.

Knocking in nine home runs, including three in the contest’s final round against tight end Zach Ertz and kicker (and certified baseballer) Jake Elliot, Wisniewski took home the crown in front of 25,000 ravenous fans in the house Chase Utley built, right across the street from the Linc.

Pretty crazy for a player who at one point didn’t even seem like he would be re-signed.

After an incredibly productive three year career at the Penn State, Wisnewski was drafted 48th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, becoming the second Wisniewski to play guard for the Oakland Raiders before shifting inside to center over his next three seasons with the team.

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Though he played fine, starting every game he was active for, Wisniewski was ultimately allowed to walk in free agency after his rookie contract expired, and after failing to find a team willing to give him a big money, long-term deal signed on to anchor the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ offensive line in 2015.

It did not go particularly well.

While he performed fine as a pass blocker, Wisniewski did little to help the Jaguars’ fledgling run game, which finished out the season as the leagues’ 27th best rushing attack, averaging a paltry 92.1 yards a game.

This, when coupled with his propensity for delivering bad snaps to Blake Bortles out of the shotgun made Wisniewski a tough sell to teams looking to sign a starting caliber center in free agency, and ultimately lead to his addition to the Eagles on a one-year, prove it deal.

With Jason Kelce firmly entrenched as the team’s Pro Bowl starting center, Wisniewski would have to revert to left guard, a position he hadn’t played in half a decade, if he wanted to win a starting job, a job easier said than done. After signing Jeff Stoutland‘s former protege from Alabama in Chance Warmack, drafting Isaac Seumalo out of Oregon State with a third-round pick, and retaining incumbent starter Allen Barbre, Wisnewski faced an uphill battle to see the field in 2016, a hurdle he never quite cleared.

Though Wiz did appear in all 16 games for the Birds in 2016, he only received six starts, and never quite secured the starting spot with his free agency incoming. Once again unable to secure a long-term, lucrative deal as a guaranteed starter, Wisniewski opted to remain in his home state and re-up with the Eagles, returning on a three-year, $8 million deal.

In 2018, that looks like a steal.

After competing once again in a winner takes all battle royal for the team’s starting left guard position, Wiz ultimately pulled out the W after his teammates struggled over the first few games of the season, and started 11 of the 14 regular season games he appeared in the regular season.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Even after Jason Peters went down with an untimely ACL injury midway through the season, Wisniewski served as a calming force on the left side of the line alongside recently promoted Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and helped the Eagles average an insane 123.3 yards per game over their playoff tenure, the second-best mark of any team in the postseason.

Now, going into his third season in the City of Brotherly Love, it looks like Wisniewski has finally found a home at the ripe old age of 29 and will start out the 2018 NFL season as the Eagles’ unquestioned starting left guard.

Next: Fletcher Cox named the second best pass rusher in the NFL

And hey, if things don’t work out with the Philadelphia Eagles, maybe the Philadelphia Phillies could use a big, power-hitting ringer as a DH.