Eagles are Comfortable with Landon Dickerson 'Risk'

Eagles GM Howie Roseman feels comfortable betting on the Alabama center in the second round
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PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles understand they took a calculated gamble on second-round pick Landon Dickerson, the former star offensive lineman at Alabama with the talent of first-rounder and the medical history of a John Dalton.

Like Patrick Swayze's legendary bouncer character in the late-1980s cult classic "Road House," Dickerson might want to consider carrying his medical records around to save some time.

Four significant injuries in college - torn ACLs in both knees and two significant ankle injuries, including the same kind of tightrope surgery that failed to save the 2020 season for Lane Johnson - likely had many teams around the league red-flagging the 6-foot-6, 330-pound road grader.

"They're in the past and you can't change that," Dickerson said Wednesday when appearing on 94WIP Radio. "My mindset is, let's learn from that and move on and see what we can do next time.

"For me, it kind of sounds bad, but I feel thankful for them. These injuries have taught me a lot about who I am as a player, mentally and physically, and what I need to do to take care of my body and go about it so that I can take care of myself and act like a professional when it comes to football."

Whether all the injuries meant knocking Dickerson down from potential Day 1 to a Day 2 pick like Philadelphia or even Day 3 almost assuredly varied around the league. For Howie Roseman, he insisted that the Eagles didn't want to be "risk-averse."

"We want to take chances," the Eagles GM said. "When we think about Landon, think about what kind of player we think he is and what kind of player we think he can be in the National Football League."

What factors into those chances perhaps boils down to the one standardized sentiment around the NFL, the so-called talent/tolerance equation.

Just like talented players get more chances when it comes to off-the-field issues, the same holds true with injuries. If a potential late-round pick had Dickerson's injury history, his ceiling would be as a priority undrafted free agent and it's at least plausible that the prospect would be completely written off.

Roseman, though, sees a potential star and a seamless transition from either Jason Kelce or Brandon Brooks to Dickerson by 2022 once the Rimington Trophy winner has completely recovered from his torn left ACL suffered in the SEC Championship Game.

“Landon Dickerson is a difference-maker,” Roseman said on 94WIP a day earlier. “He’s a difference-maker as a player, he’s a difference-maker as a person. If you’re going to bet on a guy, he’s the kind of guy you bet on."

Smart bettors understand the more information you can collect the better the bet might be and the Eagles happen to have Jeff Stoutland as their offensive line coach, who was with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide before he arrived in Philadelphia and nearly returned to Tuscaloosa this offseason after Doug Pederson was fired before being convinced to stay during the transition to Nick Sirianni.

Stoutland loves Dickerson's mentality and old-school nastiness as a player, per a source close to the coach, and the veteran mentor has every bit of information you could possibly collect on the North Carolina native.

"When we watched Landon Dickerson, we were going, ‘This guy’s mentality reminds you of Jon Runyan,’" Roseman noted. "That’s what he is. He is that kind of enforcer that you have on your football team and he is such a good player."

After the draft, Roseman also made it clear that the Eagles' belief system has not changed despite selecting a playmaker at No. 10 overall in Dickerson's teammate at Alabama, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.

"I'm sure there's some people sick and tired of seeing the Philadelphia Eagles take linemen but that's how we won a championship and that's how we're going to win another championship," the GM assessed.

Roseman only doubled down on that days later.

"This guy as we go forward and we try to get back to that championship level and we try to climb the mountain, this is a guy you want on your side," he said of Dickerson. "He wants to put people into the ground. He wants to bury guys. He’s an athlete, this guy is a really, really good player. And you never have a chance to get a guy like this unless there are some questions."

Everything in life is a cost/benefit analysis and the needle leaned heavily Dickerson's way for the Eagles.

"We know it’s a risk," said Roseman, "but we think it’s a risk worth taking."

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven 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.