This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.
In retrospect, the 2013 NFL Draft was about as close to a disaster as you’re going to find. No. 1 pick Eric Fisher hasn’t played well for Kansas City. Luke Joeckel is no longer with Jacksonville (he’s in Seattle). Dion Jordan was cut by Miami after three disastrous seasons. That is a terrible top 3.
The Eagles made the right pick when they selected offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who has been a very good player when he’s been on the field, but he’s also missed 14 games in four seasons because of NFL suspensions for violating the league’s substance-abuse program. At No. 10 in the first round of that draft, the Tennessee Titans took Chance Warmack, an earth-moving offensive guard from Alabama who dominated at the college level and was expected to do so at the NFL level as well.
It didn’t quite turn out that way for Warmack, who was a solid starter for a couple of years with the Titans but then never took that next step toward stardom in 2015 and 2016. It didn’t help Warmack that he had three different line coaches in his time at Tennessee, or that the Titans also employed three different offensive coordinators in Warmack’s four seasons there. Warmack’s trip to free agency lasted all of one day. His market was tepid enough that he signed right away with the Eagles, a one-year deal that is an NFL veteran’s equivalent of playing for minimum wage. He is in Philadelphia to get his career back on track, to get on the road to being a star, to play to the enormous upside that every scout and every team saw after his stellar career at Alabama.
“He was extremely physical at Alabama. He played left guard for us and was really a dominating force at the college level, in the SEC. That’s the reason he was drafted 10th overall, because he dominated the people he played against,” Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland told me a few weeks ago in his NovaCare Complex office. Stoutland, by the way, is the reason Warmack is here. “He was eager, wants to learn, wants to be coached hard, which I did and he responded. I’m going to coach him the same way here. I know how he ticks. I know how he thinks and he knows how I think. We’re on the same page. For him, it’s going to be a real easy transition into our system and I’m excited.
“I think it will be easier for him to go from Tennessee and what they do to here than it was for him to go from Alabama to Tennessee because I coached him all through college and the terminology, from a personal technique standpoint, is extremely similar. When I found out we got him, I was very excited. I know what kind of player he was in college and I know what kind of player he can be at the NFL level.” Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are instant upgrades to the wide receiver group. Timmy Jernigan has a chance to thrive in Jim Schwartz’s attacking defensive front. Nick Foles is a step up from Chase Daniel as a backup to Carson Wentz at quarterback. Chris Long can earn some reps at defensive end.
But Warmack has as much of an opportunity as any addition the Eagles have made in this more-than-I-expected offseason to truly impact a positional group. IF IF IF IF Warmack can play to the best of his talent, the Eagles will have themselves a difference-making guard. It is my belief that the NFL is all about the quarterback position and coaching, and having Stoutland and Warmack together again is vitally important and, potentially, line-of-scrimmage-altering for the Eagles. Warmack is going to have to earn his playing time, as the Eagles have stacked the guard position with players who are here to compete. Allen Barbre is the incumbent starter, but his leg injuries last season gave Stefen Wisniewski a chance to start six games and also pushed rookie Isaac Seumalo into the lineup.
Barbre, Wisniewski and Seumalo return. Warmack is in the mix. It’s an open competition. Should Warmack meld with Stoutland and play as the Eagles think he can, well, the Eagles could very well upgrade this offensive line from “good” to “great” in one fell, um, swoop. Warmack is that highly regarded, or at least he was coming out of Alabama. The Eagles love Seumalo, so should the second-year lineman also take the next step, then things are really going to get interesting, and the competition will spill over to the center position (Jason Kelce) and the right guard spot (Brandon Brooks). The Eagles need that guard-to-guard excellence to complement the play from Jason Peters at left tackle and Johnson at right tackle. Warmack is here to resurrect his NFL career, and he’s in the right place to do it. A return to what everyone thought he would be is exactly what Warmack wants, and precisely the kind of impact that would make the Eagles NFL-special along the offensive line.
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