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What the Eagles should do at offensive guard

Eagles roster outlook: position-by-position.

NFL: OCT 18 Ravens at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today we continue our Philadelphia Eagles roster outlook series by examining the offensive guard position. Previously: Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight ends | Offensive tackle.

THE PLAYERS

NATE HERBIG

STATS: 893 snaps, 12 starts, 12th out of 92 guards graded by PFF, 2 sacks allowed, 0 hits allowed, 19 hurries allowed, 4 penalties

REVIEW: ‘Herbie’ started the season at right guard despite Pryor being the expected front-runner to fill in for Brooks. Herbig then flipped over to left guard after Seumalo got hurt. And then back and forth some more, leaving him with the following snap counts: right guard: 545, left guard: 346. On the whole, Herbig seemed to hold his own. Pro Football Focus graded him out well in both pass protection and run blocking.

OUTLOOK: Herbig is one of the few young players on the team that has a favorable outlook as a long-term piece. That’s both a credit to him and an indictment on the roster. He’s still only 22 years old, which is pretty young for a player with two seasons under his belt. Herbig might only continue to improve as he adds more strength and fully grows into his adult body. At the very least, Herbig should be the Eagles’ top backup interior offensive lineman next year. He deserves to start at either center or left guard (with Seumalo moving to the pivot) if Jason Kelce retires. Guard might be the more realistic option since Herbig’s had some snapping issues.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Nate Herbig: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Stay
    (2639 votes)
  • 2%
    Go
    (57 votes)
2696 votes total Vote Now

ISAAC SEUMALO

STATS: 588 snaps, 9 starts, 47th out of 92 guards graded by PFF, 4 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 13 hurries allowed, 2 penalties

REVIEW: Seumalo got hurt in Week 2 and didn’t return until Week 11. He finished out the season in that spot.

OUTLOOK: There was some thought that Seumalo might be able to make a leap from being ‘merely average’ to ‘legitimately good’ in 2020. Didn’t happen. His injury probably didn’t help but this might just be who he is: an adequate starting offensive lineman. Seumalo, who turns 28 this season, is under contract through 2022. If the team believes in him as a long-term starter, they could look to restructure and/or extend his deal to help them get under the cap this year. He could move inside to take over at center if Kelce retires.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Isaac Seumalo: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Stay
    (2337 votes)
  • 7%
    Go
    (201 votes)
2538 votes total Vote Now

MATT PRYOR

STATS: 773 snaps, 70th out of 92 guards graded by PFF, 6 sacks allowed, 8 hits allowed, 21 hurries allowed, 7 penalties

REVIEW: For a moment in time, it looked like the Eagles were going to enter the season with Pryor as their starting left tackle. There was rightful concern about such a scenario since he got beaten like a drum at that spot in training camp. With Jason Peters moving back outside after getting a raise, however, Pryor was sent to the bench. A little unexpectedly, too, with Herbig and Jack Driscoll both getting the Week 1 nod over him. It didn’t take long for offensive line injuries to force Pryor back into the lineup. He ended up playing all over the place, as you can see from this snap count distribution — right guard: 394, right tackle: 254, left tackle: 78, and left guard: 47. His versatility would’ve been more valuable if he was actually good at any of those spots.

OUTLOOK: Ideally, the team should look to upgrade on Pryor. With limited resources to fill a number of holes, however, the Eagles might just have to keep him around for one more year. Perhaps he’d benefit from being able to focus at one spot as opposed to being moved all around. But there’s a good chance Pryor, who turns 27 this season, just is what he is at this point: not a very good offensive lineman.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Matt Pryor: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Stay
    (771 votes)
  • 68%
    Go
    (1680 votes)
2451 votes total Vote Now

SUA OPETA

STATS: 170 snaps, 2 starts, 84th out of 131 guards graded by PFF, 1 sack allowed, 3 hits allowed, 3 hurries allowed, 2 penalties

REVIEW: After the Eagles made an effort to prevent him from being poached in 2019, Opeta finally got an opportunity to start in Week 7 last year. It did not go so well for him. Opeta started against the New York Giants again in Week 10 and struggled again.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles have put effort into developing Opeta, who turns 25 in August. Not sure if it’s really been worth it. The former UDFA signing seems like a replacement-level player at best. Opeta should need a strong offseason to make the 2021 roster.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Sua Opeta: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Stay
    (421 votes)
  • 80%
    Go
    (1792 votes)
2213 votes total Vote Now

JAMON BROWN

STATS: 72 snaps, 1 start, 2 sacks allowed, 3 hits allowed, 3 hurries allowed, 1 penalty

REVIEW: The Eagles signed Brown off the Chicago Bears’ practice squad in September. They had to rely on him as a starter in Week 6. It was a disaster! Then the Eagles inexplicably kept Brown around on the practice squad. He served as a waste of a spot before getting kicked off the team for detrimental conduct in December.

BRANDON BROOKS

REVIEW: Unfortunately, Brooks suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in mid-June. The Eagles activated his practice window ahead of Week 17 in order to allow him to participate in some individual drills.

OUTLOOK: Assuming no setbacks or new injuries, Brooks should be on track to start in Week 1. The Eagles should benefit from getting their three-time Pro Bowler back in the lineup. Then again, it remains to be seen how his body will hold up. I’m not one to bet against a beast like Brooks, to be clear, but he turns 32 in August and he’s gone through two Achilles injuries and a dislocated shoulder since January 2019. That’s not nothing. And the Eagles really need Brooks to maintain form considering he’s signed through 2024.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Brandon Brooks: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Stay
    (2277 votes)
  • 6%
    Go
    (159 votes)
2436 votes total Vote Now

FREE AGENCY OR TRADES

I don’t see the Eagles acquiring any guards of significance. Maybe a vet minimum signing to compete in camp, if anything.

NFL DRAFT APPROACH

The Eagles could afford to draft a center with some guard versatility with Kelce — who we’ll discuss more tomorrow — potentially not returning in 2021. Probably a Day 2 or Day 3 pick. It won’t be surprising if the team also looks to sign some UDFA offensive linemen, as they’ve done in recent years (Luke Juriga, Herbig, Opeta, etc.). They seem to rely on Jeff Stoutland coaching those guys up.