Eagles Training Camp Preview: Interior Offensive Line

The Eagles interior offensive line group might be the most talented on the team

The interior of the Eagles’ offensive line is arguably the biggest strength of the team with three top-tier starters bolstered by a top-tier rookie, and perhaps the most underrated player on the roster.

That doesn’t mean there are no question marks, however.

The starters from left to right are the underappreciated Isaac Seumalo, veteran Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce and one of the best right guards in football when healthy in Brandon Brooks.

The rookie mentioned is former Alabama star Landon Dickerson, who is expecting to start somewhere on the interior by 2022, and the underrated option is Nate Herbig, who played a very high level in 2020 - grading out as the 13th best OG in the NFL by ProFootballFocus.com - after being thrust into the lineup for significant periods due to injuries.

Landon Dickerson

Landon Dickerson

Other than Seumalo, who is entering the prime of his career, Kelce is aging, set to turn 34 in-season, and on a self-described year-to-year basis at this point while Brooks, about to turn 32 in training camp, is back after a second torn Achilles’ in three years. 

Dickerson, meanwhile, only reached the second round of April’s draft due to a troubling injury history in college and is coming off his second ACL tear in December of last year.

In 2019, if Brooks wasn’t the best guard in football he was right there with Quenton Nelson and Zack Martin.

"It’s funny," Brooks said. "When stuff like that happens, things get put into perspective. You see things in a different light. For me, obviously, I’ve had my struggles. … and it’s just seeing stuff in a different light than I did before.

"I am at peace, man."

Brooks confirmed he was cleared as a full-go late last season when he practiced for the Week 17 finale against the Washington Football Team. He noted that if the Eagles had made the miracle run late and somehow won the NFC East, the plan was that he would have played in the postseason, an astonishing feat considering that he tore the Achilles in June.

"The reason I practiced the last week of the season … basically, if we had gotten to the playoffs, I would have played in the playoffs," Brooks told SI.com's Eagle Maven. "That was the reason I practiced. So, when I got cleared in December, I was cleared, cleared, good to go."

Brooks said his first Achilles tear, in the 2018 postseason against New Orleans, helped him when it came to rehabbing the second one.

"When it happened the second time … honestly, I just laughed and people were like, ‘Why are you laughing? You just tore your Achilles.’ I’m like, ‘It’s life. It happens.’ I’ve seen the highest of highs, the lowest of lows," said Brooks.

"… I’ve been down this road. I know what to expect. I know how it’s supposed to feel at each checkpoint. ... So the first one helped me with the second one."

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Brooks also addressed the fact that the Eagles considered trading him in the offseason.

"Well, it was true," he said. "... This is a business, man. The second you lose sight of [that] is the second it gets to you.

"For me, I get it, right? I’m an older guy who’s coming off an injury. At the time, we were cap-strapped, I’m making a lot of money. I get it. So it didn’t hurt my feelings.”

If 2021 ends up being Brooks’ last season in Philadelphia, the three-time Pro Bowl selection plans on making it count.

"I think the biggest thing that everyone is forgetting is that I tore my Achilles before, and when I came back, I was the best, period," he said. "So with that being said, what tells you that it’ll be different this time?"


C - Jason Kelce; Landon Dickerson (currently unsigned); Luke Juriga; Ross Pierschbacher; Harry Crider

LG - Isaac Seumalo, Sua Opeta; Kayode Owasika

RG - Brandon Brooks; Nate Herbig; Matt Pryor

WHAT’S CHANGED: The Eagles drafted Dickerson in the second round which is a bit of a luxury considering he’s coming off a torn ACL in December and the team is set when it comes to starters on the interior.

Dickerson is about 2022 where he will likely replace either Kelce or Brooks. The only other newcomer is undrafted free agent Kayode Owasika, who has some tackle/guard versatility which bodes well for the practice squad.

HIGHLIGHT REEL: Kelce is reaching the point in his career where you start discussing Canton and if a gold jacket is the end game for the one-time sixth-round pick.

Kelce’s latest contract tweak with the Eagles came in March with what was essentially an agreement to play in 2021 for $9 million. The deal also set June 2 of next year as the demarcation line for the plan in 2022 when Dickerson, in theory, will be in the mix to play somewhere on the interior.

"It was something we put in just to make sure nothing was dragging out. None of us want to be left high and dry. I have too much respect for this organization and vice versa, so we’ll just do it one year at a time,” Kelce said this summer.

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On the field, Kelce was his typical self even in a four-win season, the lone default Jeff Stoutland could count on in what was a historic season of attrition on the offensive line.

On the interior alone Brooks’ missed the entire season and Seumalo missed half of it with a knee injury but Kelce was a rock, always playing through injury and at a high level.

"I've always said I'm playing until I'm not and I still have a very strong desire to play the game of football,” Kelce told the Eagles’ website. “I still want to do it. I still want to be around the guys. I want to be around the building, around the coaches. I still enjoy that aspect of it and I'm not ready to stop doing it yet. I'm excited with a lot of the energy going around right now and, also, I didn't want to end my career on a season like we had last year. It wouldn't feel right.”


Any perceived camp battles will be down the depth chart with players like Sua Opeta and Matt Pryor, a guard/tackle hybrid, trying to keep roster spots from younger options like Luke Juriga and Owasika.


Don’t sleep on Ross Pierschbacher, like Dickerson, another former center/guard at Alabama.

Pierschbacher, once a fifth-round pick by Washington, was signed off the WFT practice squad last December, and Stoutland, a former coach at Alabama, obviously has an affinity for the way Nick Saban does things in Tuscaloosa.


It seems pretty concrete barring an unforeseen trade of someone like Herbig, who proved he could be an effective starter in this league but will ultimately be the fifth option here. Kelce, Brooks, Seumalo, Dickerson, and Herbig are as deep and talented as it gets. The only questions are health-related.


There aren’t many areas of the 2021 Eagles team where you will be saying that Howie Roseman had to cut NFL-level players but IOL is one of them. Not to overstate the value of players like Opeta and Pryor but they belong in the league and the path isn’t clear in Philadelphia.

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 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.