For the second year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles selected a player who played at Alabama with their second-round pick. For the second year in a row, the Eagles’ selection had some second-guessing their second-round pick. Was drafting Landon Dickerson at No. 37 overall worth the risk?
That much remains to be seen. In the meantime, let’s learn more about Dickerson. I reached out to SB Nation’s Alabama blog, Roll Bama Roll, and Crimson Tide writer Brent Taylor was kind enough to answer my questions. (If you missed it, Brent also did a great job answering my questions about DeVonta Smith!)
1) Can you recap his college career?
Dickerson started at Florida State as a highly ranked recruit but saw each of his seasons as a starter cut short with injuries. With the Seminoles turning into a total dumpster fire after 2017, Dickerson took his chance as a graduate transfer and came to Alabama. He won the starting job at right guard initially in 2019 but wound up moving to center to replace a struggling Chris Owens a few games into the season. He generally played really well in that role and displayed the versatility to move to guard or tackle if injuries necessitated a shuffling.
He returned for his senior season in 2020 and grew from just a talented, athletic blocker to a team leader and a major personality for the Tide. He got all kinds of attention for his antics jumping around and pointing at players who jumped offsides and excelled at getting defenders to commit personal fouls. Around SEC Twitter, he became a weekly feature for having highlight-reel blocks getting shared around. He wound up winning the Remington Trophy for the nation’s top center, though a knee injury in the SEC Championship sidelined him for the final two games of the season.
He rehabbed way ahead of schedule and came into the National Championship game for the final snap in a kneel-down in one of the more emotional moments in recent college football memory. What he meant to the team both on and off the field was apparent.
2) What are his strengths?
Dickerson is insanely strong, and the couples that with a desire to block someone into smithereens on every single play. Get him lead blocking out in space, and he’s pancaking some poor sap. When blocking in the center of the line, he’ll take care of his own man, and then turn and flatten the guy being blocked by the guard beside him before turning back to his first target. He’s got good athleticism and the footwork to move around in space or pass block on his own. As a center, I don’t remember any botched snaps in his two years.
As I mentioned earlier, he’s also a huge asset as an emotional leader and someone that can really demoralize an opponent with his omnipresent annoying antics and desire to flatten folks.
3) What are his weaknesses?
The aggressive nature cuts both ways. While he did clean it up as a senior, he’s definitely been flagged for his fair share of penalties. And he’ll whiff the occasional lead block when going for the big hit instead of just getting in the way. Most of all, though, is the injury history. 2019 was the only season he’s ever finished healthy in his college career, and multiple knee injuries is a concern.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
Were it not for the injury history, I think he was a top-20 type of talent. But I did expect a lot of teams to be a bit leery of the knee problems (plus the positional value.... Not many teams prioritize needing a center), so I think the early portion of the second round was about right.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out? To what extent does his injury history concern you?
As I said above, it’s definitely concerning. If he can stay healthy, I think he’s a pro-bowl level center. It’s a big if though, and that if is why the Eagles were able to get him in the second round.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
I mostly talked about this already, but Dickerson is about as entertaining of a guy as you’ll have on a football team, and the fans will absolutely love him (and all the rival fans will hate him). From posting workout videos in farmer overalls to putting a railroad cross-tie as his car bumper, to video bombing interviews with a string of cartwheels, he’s always good for a laugh.
BLG’s take: Dickerson has the potential to be a strong Jason Kelce replacement both on and off the field. It’s just impossible to gloss over his extensive injury history, though. We won’t see Dickerson much in 2021 if the Eagles’ projected starting offensive line stays healthy. Of course, that’s far from a certainty. It’ll be interesting to see where the Eagles prefer Dickerson in terms of playing center or guard.