Skip to main content

A History of Jason Kelce's Potential Heir Apparents With Eagles

It took eight years and three high-level players for the Philadelphia Eagles but Jason Kelce's successor is locked in with Cam Jurgens.

PHILADELPHIA - Three times will be the charm for the Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to the heir apparent for likely future Hall of Fame center Jason Kelce, who officially announced his retirement earlier this week.

Few remember but the first transition for the six-time All-Pro center was originally penciled in as Isaac Seumalo back in 2016, the very season that sparked Kelce turning the corner from capable player to star with the help of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

Kelce made note of that campaign in his farewell speech recalling that he thought he may be dealt for a pair of washing machines. Seumalo, who showed tremendous versatility at Oregon State, was selected in the third round and the Eagles believed center would ultimately be the Hawaiian’s best position due to his athleticism and football IQ.

Isaac Seumalo on June 8, 2022

Few even remember when Isaac Seumalo was a potential Jason Kelce successor.

When things began to click for Kelce, Seumalo slowly developed as a solid starter at guard, first on the left side and then on the right before leaving for Pittsburgh in free agency before the 2023 season.

By Seumalo’s last season with the Eagles, he had developed into a Pro Bowl alternate at LG and Stoutland often remarked it was like having two centers on the field when he and Kelce were playing next to each other.

Howie Roseman pushed pause for a few years before again going the heir-apparent route in 2021, once Kelce essentially shifted to a year-by-year thought process when it came to continuing his playing career.

In the 2021 draft, the Eagles were able to get a first-round talent with the 37th overall pick because All-American Alabama center Landon Dickerson had torn his ACL in the SEC Championship Game.

Philadelphia believed it could essentially redshirt Dickerson during his rookie campaign and allow the 333-pounder to fully rehab his injury. Instead, injuries struck the Eagles' starters with both Brandon Brooks and Seumalo being lost early in the season.

That forced Dickerson into the lineup, first at RG and then LG where Stoutland first got a look at him playing next to the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Jordan Mailata. The knee held up and the rest is history with Stoutland quickly surmising that Dickerson would be staying right where he was, something that has resulted in consecutive Pro Bowl berths.

By 2022, it was Nebraska center Cam Jurgens with the 51st overall selection and this one even came with the Kelce stamp of approval.

“I’m pretty excited about the kid,” Kelce said about Jurgens when the latter was elected. “I liked him a lot. I like his tools. I like his mentality.”

Kelce downplayed his hand in the process of drafting Jurgens but did admit the Eagles made him aware of the plan.

“Probably overstated a little bit, my involvement in that selection,” Kelce admitted. “I’d like to probably step that back a little bit. I think I’ve looked at a few guys the last couple years when they’ve asked my opinion. But he’s here obviously because Jeff Stoutland, Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni, all these people really watched that tape and believe in him.”

However, Kelce’s scouting report had an impression of the Eagles’ brass.

“I love looking at young guys, I love looking at guys on our team,” said Kelce. “The whole mentality of self-improvement and reaching their potential. That’s something that I certainly love being a part of. I’ve loved my own journey of that and I’d love to help other guys reach their potential.”

Behind the scenes, Kelce has been helping Jurgens for this very moment. The Nebraska product served as a luxury in his rookie season before taking a step to the right to start at RG after Seumalo left in free agency.

Jurgens performed well enough to be named a Pro Bowl alternate despite playing out of position last season but this time there was no ‘we can’t move this guy sentiment’ from Stoutland.

The third time is a charm and Jurgens will move back inside and officially be known as Kelce’s successor when the 2024 season kicks off.

“I think although he does have a lot of similar traits to me, he’s going to be his own player,” Kelce said.