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What the Eagles should do at center

Eagles roster outlook: position-by-position.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles

Our Philadelphia Eagles roster outlook series continues by examining the center position. PREVIOUSLY: Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | Wide receiver | Offensive tackle | Offensive guard.

THE PLAYERS

JASON KELCE

STATS: 993 snaps, 17 starts, 3rd out of 40 centers graded by PFF, 1 sack allowed, 0 hits allowed, 16 hurries allowed, 6 penalties

PLAYOFF STATS: 66 snaps, 1 start

REVIEW: With thought that Kelce might retire instead of enduring another head coaching change, the Eagles were very pleased to get him back for 2021. They believed he could be a great veteran pillar to lean on in a new era of Philadelphia football. Sure enough, Kelce was excellent this past season. He was a key blocker for the NFL’s top rushing attack. Kelce’s dominance earned him his fifth career Pro Bowl berth and fourth first-team All-Pro honor. Kelce further strengthened his case as a future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. By playing in all 17 games, Kelce extended his consecutive regular season start streak to 122.

OUTLOOK: People close to Kelce reportedly believe he will NOT retire this offseason. That being said, Kelce has yet to officially make a decision. It’s hardly impossible to envision him walking away when: 1) he’s previously weighed retirement, 2) he’s entering his age 35 season, and 3) he has two young children and a wife at home. But it’s clear that Kelce is still physically capable of playing at a very high level. The guess here is that he doesn’t want his career to end with a blowout loss in the first round of the playoffs. In that event that Kelce does return, the Eagles and him will need to figure out a reworked contract to avoid the “poison pill” the two sides previously agreed upon. But the Eagles doing whatever it takes to get Kelce to come back shouldn’t be too difficult on their end.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Jason Kelce: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Stay
    (3375 votes)
  • 2%
    Go
    (82 votes)
3457 votes total Vote Now

JACK ANDERSON

STATS: 81 snaps, 1 start, 16th out of 65 centers graded by PFF, 0 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 0 hurries allowed, 0 penalties

REVIEW: The Eagles signed Anderson off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad in September. He spent most of the year as a healthy scratch before making his first career start in Week 18. Anderson started the regular season finale at right guard and then shifted over to center after Brett Toth got hurt.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles value Anderson’s potential to some extent considering how they basically stashed him at the bottom of the roster in 2021. His center/guard versatility could help him as he battles for a spot on the team.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Jack Anderson: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Stay
    (1802 votes)
  • 15%
    Go
    (329 votes)
2131 votes total Vote Now

BRETT TOTH

STATS: 53 snaps, 20th out of 65 centers graded by PFF, 0 sacks allowed, 0 hits allowed, 0 hurries allowed, 0 penalties

REVIEW: The Eagles had Toth playing left tackle and left guard in the preseason. Then he played right tackle and right guard during some brief relief stints during the season. It was curious to see the Eagles start Toth at center in the team’s meaningless Week 18 finale against the Dallas Cowboys. He suffered a torn ACL in that game and had surgery in late January.

OUTLOOK: Depending on how his recovery goes, Toth might be a candidate to start the 2022 season on the PUP list. The Eagles seemingly still value his potential. Seems like their willingness to experiment with his position shows they’re trying to find a fit somewhere?

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Brett Toth: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Stay
    (1282 votes)
  • 33%
    Go
    (646 votes)
1928 votes total Vote Now

OTHER PLAYERS WITH CENTER VERSATILITY

If Kelce retires, the Eagles will move either Isaac Seumalo or Landon Dickerson to center. The guess here is the former is more likely to change positions. We talked more about those players in our guard outlook.

FREE AGENCY OR TRADES

Even if Kelce retires, the Eagles won’t be spending significant cap resources to acquire a new center. They already have in-house options available to them.

NFL DRAFT APPROACH

Many mock drafts have the Eagles drafting Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with one of their three first-round picks. Linderbaum has drawn comparisons to Kelce, so it’s not hard to envision how he could fit in Philly.

The thinking here is that drafting Linderbaum wouldn’t be the most optimal use of resources. For starters, it cannot be merely assumed that he’ll be a seamless replacement for Kelce. That’s a very high bar to live up to. One must also consider how offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has been able to do more with less with his position group.

If Kelce is gone, drafting Linderbaum will be something for the Eagles to more strongly consider. It could also make sense if he’s truly heads and shoulders above the other talents available on the board. But the Eagles don’t need to force a pick on a center just because Kelce might be gone in the near future.

Drafting someone with center ability on Day 2 or Day 3 could be more ideal.