Philadelphia Eagles: Need a guard? Scout the Oregon Ducks

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /

With a not-so-deceptive need for reinforcements at left guard, the Philadelphia Eagles should heavily scout the Oregon Ducks’ offensive line in 2019.

At this point, it kind of feels mean to pick on Philadelphia Eagles‘ left guard Isaac Seumalo.

A third-round pick out of Oregon State in 2016, Seumalo is the lone non-Pro Bowler on arguably the best offensive line in football, and rightfully gets a fair bit of criticism for his average play.

And when he plays bad, like he has so far in 2019, the vitriol can get downright brutal.

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Finishing out Week 2 as Pro Football Focus’ worst overall offensive lineman, the Eagles are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, as they really don’t have a solid backup on the roster to fill his slot.

Sure, they have Andre Dillard, who is clearly the team’s fifth best lineman, but Doug Pederson has remained firmly committed to keeping him at tackle and only tackle. There’s also Halapoulivaati Vaitai, but he too is more of an offensive tackle than a guard, and will all but surely find a starting role on some team with a hapless offensive line in 2020.

But fear not my friends, there is always hope.

While the Eagles may not find a starting-caliber guard to upgrade their line in 2019, there are a swash of competent guard talent in the 2020 NFL Draft who could immediately step in and give Seumalo a run for his money between Jason Peters (or Dillard) and Jason Kelce (baring retirement) – and four of them just so happen to call Eugene, Oregon home.

Granted, fans in Philly may still have a bad taste in their mouths from the last few Oregonians to call the City of Brotherly Love home – Chip Kelly, Patrick Chung, *gasp* Kiko Alonso – but these aren’t your daddy’s Ducks (sorry) who win with speed; no, Oregon’s 2019 assault is build on strong play in the trenches.

Running a zone-heavy, guard-pulling scheme that shouldn’t look too dissimilar to that of Eagles style of play, Oregon’s line has led the way to 619 rushing yards on 140 carries – good for a 4.4 yards-per-carry average. The Ducks have also done a fairly good job keeping potential first overall pick Justin Herbert upright over the first month of the regular season, allowing only eight sacks on 139 attempts versus 22 sacks on 418 attempts in 2018.

And fortunately for the Eagles, the Ducks have four draftable players who project to play on the interior offensive line at the NFL-level.

The top player fans in Philly should familiarize themselves with is Calvin Throckmorton, the team’s 6-foot-6 right tackle. A four-year starter with inside out versatility, and the best lineman name in recent memory, Throckmorton has the highest overall pass blocking grade in the nation of any offensive tackle since 2017, outpacing even current Eagle Andre Dillard and his one sack 2018 season. Throckmorton also exhibits a bully mentality when engaging the run game, pushing around opposing lineman with easy as he pushes into the second level.

While some team could opt to overdraft him based solely on the lack of top-tier offensive tackles in the NFL – remember, Vaitai could start on more than a handful of other NFL teams – Throckmorton is an ideal candidate for the Eagles to draft in the late 20s and develop into a long-term starter either right away at left guard, or in a swing, sixth man off the bench role like Dillard and Vaitai before him.

Another option could be senior center, Jake Hanson. While the Eagles are obviously set at center for the time being, as Kelce is the best in the league, a time could come sooner rather than later when they need to find a new middle man to anchor Jeff Stoutland‘s offensive line. As the most athletic player on the Ducks’ line, in large part because of his size at 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, Hanson could be an intriguing fit at guard for the very same reason the team selected Seumalo in the first play: as a short-term guard turned long-term center.

But Throckmorton and Hanson aren’t the only players worthy of consideration in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Left guard Shane Lemieux has started 41 straight games for the Ducks over the last four seasons and graded among the best players at his position in the Pac-12. While he’s a bit undersized for the position at 6-foot-4, 316 pounds with limited athleticism, Lemieux could prove an intriguing option at left guard if the Eagles opt against selecting an instant starter early in the early rounds.

And hey, if the Birds want to keep it in the family, they could also give ex-Eagle Chance Warmack‘s younger brother Dallas a look, as he transferred to Eugene in 2018. Though he’s probably the least talented player on the line, Stoutland clearly has an affinity for the Warmack clan and could try to refine Dallas’ raw gifts into a true gem like he did with Chance for the better part of two seasons.

With four seniors set to enter their names for consideration, the will certainly be options abound.

dark. Next. Philadelphia Eagles fans shouldn’t be hitting the panic button just yet

Ultimately, while Isaac Seumalo could turn things around and become the player Howie Roseman envisioned when he drafted him 79th overall, it’s comforting to know that there are plenty of intriguing offensive line options on the Oregon Ducks who would look great in midnight green.