Landon Dickerson Offers Leadership, Athleticism, Versatility, but Injuries a Concern

The center is the second straight player Philly has taken from Alabama in the 2021 NFL Draft
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The Eagles have their replacement for Jason Kelce when the day comes that the veteran center retires. Maybe they even have their replacement for Brandon Brooks at right guard.

General manager Howie Roseman found someone who can play both spots, and tackle too when he selected Landon Dickerson in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night.

Roseman, however, also found a player that has a long history of injury, with two ACL tears and two tightrope surgeries on his ankles. 

Evidently, the Eagles weren't concerned, but Dickerson was asked about his injuries quite a bit during his news conference shortly after he became the second straight player the Eagles took from Alabama.

It sounded like he was on track in his recovery to perhaps return to the field at some point during summer’s training camp, though Dickerson didn’t want to put a timetable on anything.

“My recovery is right where I want it to be,” he said. “We don’t have an exact time frame. My ultimate goal is to be able to do whatever I can to make the team better, no matter what stage I’m at this summer. I want to be able to compete, be in practice for the start of the season. But obviously, things may change. But right now, I’m right on schedule on where I want to be.”

After starting his career at Florida State, he started the first 11 games of the Tide’s season then tore his ACL. 

He was on the field for the final snap of the Tide’s title-game win over Ohio State, but only in the victory formation and did not have to face any contact.

It was probably a good sign that he was doing cartwheels in the background of an interview quarterback Mac Jones was doing during the Tide’s Pro Day.

Even more so, being able to do something that athletic at 6-6, 333 pounds is rather astounding, but Dickerson said he has a gymnastic background, something you don’t hear every day from an offensive lineman.

“I did gymnastics for quite a few years,” he said. “When I was younger, I tumbled a lot. It’s something that I was told I wasn’t allowed to do drills at Pro Days, so I was just trying to find a way to mess with Mac. Mac is one of my good friends, and we always mess with each other in interviews.”

The Eagles are also getting a strong leader, according to many reports written on him.

“You can call it leadership or whatever you want, I care for every single guy I played with,” he said. “I loved being a part of a football team. Everybody at this level has a mindset, not only do they want to be the best athlete, player they can be, but we also want to create the best winning team.

“That’s the biggest thing. I just care for my teammates and I love each and every one of them because we’re a select group of guys who come to work every day knowing that we want to get better. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

The Eagles had plenty of players to choose from with the 37th overall pick.

Still on the board were cornerback Asante Samuel Jr, Notre Dame linebacker/safety Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, and Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari.

The Patriots traded up and, right behind the Eagles, selected Barmore.

As for where he plays for the Eagles – center or guard – doesn’t care.

“I started all five positions on the offensive line,” he said. “My role is whatever coach thinks, whatever position I need to be in to make the team better, that’s the position I’m going to serve no matter where it is on the offensive line or on the depth chart.”

His position coach will be Jeff Stoutland, who coached at Alabama before arriving in Philadelphia on Chip Kelly’s staff in 2013.

Dickerson and Stoutland had some conversations during the pre-draft process.

“We had good meetings throughout that,” said Dickerson. “I love coach Stoutland, he has an Alabama background, great dude. I look forward to getting coached by him.

"Kind of like the same thing I said earlier, my role is to do whatever I can to make this team better no matter what it is, no matter what position, wherever coach thinks I can serve best and make this team better, that’s my goal.”

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.