PHILADELPHIA – The competition to be the Eagles’ left tackle has been sold as the main event as fans await the opening of training camp in late July, but there could be an undercard nobody is talking about that could be just as equally entertaining.
That would be the left guard spot.
Veteran Isaac Seumalo is atop the depth chart now, unlike the left tackle spot where Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata share the same line there but are expected to engage in a knock-down, bring-it-everyday battle to start.
Rookie Landon Dickerson is a tick below Seumalo.
Now, whether or not he can unseat the underrated Seumalo will depend on just how well his rehab from ACL surgery last December is progressing.
If he is healthy, well Seumalo wouldn’t be wise to assume he is the starter, not that he would.
“The true nature of being a professional is always striving to work on your weaknesses or what you perceive as being weaknesses, looking back on last season and seeing what you can work on and be better,” said Seumalo earlier this month. “My whole philosophy mentality is, can I be better than the Isaac of yesterday? What can I do to improve on that, not only physically but maybe mentally?
“Whatever edge I can gain or new technique I can do during the offseason, during this time we have to prepare, is the key to everything.”
Dickerson was drafted in the second round, and he remains the only rookie not yet signed.
He will be eventually, though, and when he is, NFL expert Brian Baldinger, who called Dickerson a “difference maker” in an SI.com Eagle Maven episode of Eagles Unfiltered podcast, believes Dickerson will play guard early in his career before eventually moving to center because it is easier on the knees.
Baldinger also compared Dickerson to a certain three-time first-team All-Pro guard.
“I always fall in love with a player (in the draft process),” said Baldy. “I fell in love with (Colts guard) Quenton Nelson three years ago coming out of Notre Dame. He was my favorite player coming into the draft. And I kept coming back to Landon Dickerson. He was my favorite player.
"In fact, (Dickerson) was the best offensive lineman I had seen since Quenton Nelson. Now, I know the injury history is real. And he’s coming off a torn ACL. He did start before the ACL 24 straight games for Alabama and (Tide coach) Nick Saban did he say he’s the single best leader we’ve had in our program.
“And you look at the 24 games at guard and at center, you listen to what Nick Saban said, then you look at how he dominated the SEC. Derrick Brown, now at Carolina (after being a first-round pick out of Auburn in 2020), you look at him against the elite players that are now all in the NFL, and he didn’t have a problem.”
Seumalo laid eyes on Dickerson during the Eagles’ offseason OTAs and liked what he saw. If he felt his job was threatened in any way by the 6-6, 333-pound, second-round pick, he certainly didn’t show it.
“Landon that’s a huge dude, man, that’s a big guy,” he said. “Obviously, with the injury, he’s a little slow, but I think watching some of his college stuff, obviously, he’s a really good football player.
“Anytime we can get guys that can not only elevate the level in the room, but compete, we’re always looking for guys that can plug and play. As everybody knows in the O-line room, injuries happen, so we’re going to need six, seven, eight guys. Last year was crazier than anything, but Landon looks like the real deal.
"I’m hoping he gets as healthy as he can come training camp so he can really let loose. Smart, tough, big, strong, everything you look for, for sure.”
Just how it all factors into the starting left guard position is something to keep an eye on later this summer.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.