Philadelphia Eagles: Hey Nick Sirianni, the left tackle competition is over

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

When asked about naming starters in the lead up to the 2021 NFL season, new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni made it known that he’s still not ready to call the team’s left tackle battle, with Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard allegedly still duking it out for the starting spot next to Isaac Seumalo in time for Week 1.

… what?

… what?

So, let me get this straight, Sirianni didn’t see enough from Mailata either on the field or in the karaoke booth to give him the starting nod and is instead still considering a player who reportedly got bullied by veteran journeyman Jeremiah Valoaga in the Birds point practices with their neighbors up 1-95?

I… I’m not really sure what to say.

Jordan Mailata has earned a starting role with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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In a league where big, fast, hyper-athletic offensive tackles are about as good as gold, Jordan Mailata’s development from a seventh-round pick who didn’t play a snap of American football until the end of his teenage years into a legitimate starting-caliber player is beyond impressive.

And the best part? Mailata is built like a darn statue.

That’s right, while his listed height and weight may lead some to believe otherwise, Mailata may just be the leanest and meanest 6-foot-8, 346-pound man on Earth, as evidenced by his sub-20 percent body fat coming out of IMG Academy in Florida.

If you let Jeff Stoutland “Weird Science” up the perfect left tackle, he’d surely turn in a player who looks remarkably similar to Mailata.

For what it’s worth, Andre Dillard isn’t too shabby as a tackle prospect either, which is probably why he has garnered trade interest from a number of teams across the league. He spent his college years playing for Mike Leach in his Washington State Air Raid attack – a scheme predicated on playing fast, reading the box, and most importantly of all, using a ton of wide receivers – and developed into one of the best pass-blockers the NCAA had to offer in the process.

Though Dillard isn’t particularly gifted in the way of arm length, wingspan, or hand size, his 20-yard shuttle, 40-yard dash, and broad jump all ranked in the top 90th percentile of offensive tackles to test at the NFL Combine, with his 3 cone drill following close behind in the 87th percentile according to Mockdraftable.

Throw that all together and wrap it in a bow, and it makes a ton of sense why Dillard was drafted in the first round and why the Houston Texans were so adamant about drafting him too.

With that being said, it truly doesn’t matter how well any NFL players tests at the combine if they can’t back it up on the field. The league’s at time tumultuous history is loaded with athletics freaks of nature who couldn’t translate their supreme skills onto the field at their chosen position and ultimately fizzled out – many of whom played for the Raiders under Al Davis.

By any perceivable metric, Mailata has outperformed Dillard on the field and thus, deserves the nod at left tackle both now and moving forward.

Now granted, had Dillard not suffered a season-ending injury in the lead up to the 2020 NFL season, maybe things would be different. Maybe he would have spent the entirety of his sophomore season playing left tackle, blocked Mailata’s path to the field, and be as locked in at left tackle as Isaac Seumalo is at left guard heading into 2021.

That, unfortunately, didn’t happen.

No, as crazy as it may sound, Dillard and Mailata haven’t appeared in a game together since 2019’s preseason, making it incredibly hard to compare the two players one-for-one against equal competition. They’ve both been on the field for the Eagles during camp this year, which is a pretty darn good way to compare two players, but even in that regard, Dillard has been thoroughly outperformed by Mailata regardless of *who you ask.

*Save Nick Sirianni, I guess. Apparently, his mind still isn’t made up officially.

Next. See you in 2022, Vinny Curry. dark

With one game left to play in the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles will have some decisions to make about which players to keep on their roster, who will have an on-field role this fall, and who will start at any given position. While some of these decisions are surely tough, like which wide receivers will fill out the bottom of the roster, deciding between Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata shouldn’t be. Mailata has won the job and thus deserves every opportunity to sink or swim before his contract expires at the end of the season.