2019 Eagles vs Super Bowl 52 Championship Eagles: Offensive Edition

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Offensive Line

In a game with many different strategies, one that seems to prove true is great teams building from the inside out, meaning the team is shaped around its line. On offense, the Eagles have practiced and succeed with this philosophy. Of course, the anchor to their line in Jason Peters has been there for years, 10 to be exact. Although in 2017 Peters’ would only play in 7 games before being sidelined for the rest of year due to an ACL/MCL injury sustained in a Monday night victory over the Redskins.

With Peters going down the Eagles needed someone else to step up and fill in the basically impossible to fill shoes of the all-pro and (most likely) hall of fame left tackle. The player to step up to the task was second-year (at the time) player Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Vaitai’s efforts wouldn’t go unnoticed either with Bleacher Report ranking him as the 26th best-left tackle in the 2017 season.

Vaitai stepping up as a homegrown product for Philly brings us to the next lineman to highlight, the opposite side tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson was drafted fourth overall by the Eagles in 2013 and proved his praise worthy getting better and better each year. He would actually be selected to his first Pro Bowl in the 2017 season and went right back the following season. Johnson also would sit at the throne of his position coming in first for all right tackles in 2017 according to Bleacher Report.

However as good as Johnson is the true and glue to the (mostly) homegrown offensive line is center Jason Kelce. Due to Kelce’s size scouts projected him as a fourth or fifth round pick even after having the fastest 40 time of all offensive lineman in the combine. Though as is if the odds couldn’t look more unlikely on March 11th, 2011 he had to undergo an appendectomy after being diagnosed with appendicitis. With these two red flags, Kelce would drop to the sixth round and be drafted 191st overall by Philadelphia.

After making it to the pros Kelce made sure to show he was worth starting the entirety of his rookie campaign. Following the impressive rookie season however, Kelce would suffer an ACL/MCL injury, allowing him to only play two games. Kelce would go right back to work the next year though starting all 16 games but would play 12 games in 2014 following a surgery. The same season Kelce would earn his first Pro Bowl nod although missing out the next season, in 2017 he would find himself on the All-Pro First-Team for the first time in his career and would be ranked fourth at his position by Bleacher Report.

Standing at Kecle’s side is a player the Eagles made sure to bring in to provide a solid presence for a comfortable pocket Brandon Brooks. The guard who started his career for the Texans came to Philly in 2016 and immediately helped out the offensive line. The following season he would earn his first Pro Bowl nomination and earned himself an invite back in 2018. In 2017 Brooks would end the season ranked fourth among all guards by Bleacher Report like his teammate Jason Kelce.

A player following a similar path as Brooks is Stefen Wisniewski, who signed a one-year deal with Philly in 2016 before signing a three-year extension in 2017. Although Wisniewski would split time with Isaac Seumalo and Chance Warmack in 2017, he held the most games stared with 11. Even though the Eagles went out to sign and extend Wisniewski his ranking put him as the crack in Philly’s impenetrable wall coming in at 32 out of all guards.

The 2017 season was a magical one for Philadelphia, and even though the flashy skill players get most of the credit, the offensive line who do the dirty work in the trenches made it all happen. As much as this can be an opinion according to pro football focuses numbers and rankings, it’s a fact, with the Super Bowl winning offensive line being ranked the very best in football that season.

In 2019 the Philadelphia Eagles gladly find themselves still having seven of the same offensive lineman from 2017. Not only do they still have a solid core of starters and a couple of reliable back ups. The Eagles used their first-round pick this year to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Not only can Dillard come in for a team and immediately make an impact, he’ll be under Jason Peters’ wing. Learning and developing until his name is called and he’s needed, giving him the chance to prove he’s worth Philly’s top pick and can be the anchor of the line for years to come.

Going into the 2019 season it looks like Philadelphia is in just a good of a place if not better with their line than in 2017. Keeping all the starters, holding on to reliable back ups, and drafting a young player with large potential to serve back up to a seasoned vet.