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What the Eagles should do at offensive tackle

Eagles roster outlook: position-by-position.

Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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

THE PLAYERS

JORDAN MAILATA

STATS: 914 snaps, 14 starts, 3rd out of 88 tackles graded by PFF, 3 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 16 hurries allowed, 7 penalties

PLAYOFF STATS: 66 snaps, 1 start

REVIEW: Mailata blew out Andre Dillard in the “battle” for the starting left tackle job by having a great training camp. His efforts were rewarded with a four-year, $64 million extension. Mailata missed a couple games due to being banged up but he mostly played at a very high level throughout the year. He also was able to be trusted to fill in at right tackle when Lane Johnson missed some games. Mailata has proven to be strong in both pass protection and as a run blocker, where he can really crush defenders while on the move.

OUTLOOK: Thanks to his extension, Mailata is signed through 2025. It’s pretty crazy how far he’s come. He never even played a single snap of organized football prior to August 2018 and now he’s one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He should’ve gotten more Pro Bowl consideration, though it typically takes time for lower profile blockers (read: players who aren’t first-round picks and/or members of Dallas Cowboys) to get recognition like that. Mailata could very well make his first Pro Bowl — and maybe an All-Pro team?! — with another strong showing in 2022. Mailata is an awesome talent and a real fun guy to root for. If you vote “go” for him in the following poll, you’re banned. I’m serious.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Jordan Mailata: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Stay
    (5273 votes)
  • 1%
    Go
    (82 votes)
5355 votes total Vote Now

LANE JOHNSON

STATS: 821 snaps, 13 starts, 11th out of 88 tackles graded by PFF, 0 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 10 hurries allowed, 7 penalties ... 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards, 1 TD

PLAYOFF STATS: 43 snaps, 1 start

REVIEW: Johnson missed multiple starts early in the season for reasons originally unknown. Upon his return, Johnson bravely revealed he was battling with serious mental health issues. The Eagles were happy to get Johnson back; they went 7-3 in the regular season once he re-entered the starting lineup. Johnson was ultimately snubbed by the Pro Bowl once again despite playing at a very high level. At least it was pretty cool to see Johnson score his first career touchdown when the coaching staff drew up a play for him late in the season. His teammates were very happy about that moment.

OUTLOOK: After missing 13 games due to injury in 2019 and 2020 combined, it was good to see Johnson stay physically healthy and make it through most of the 2021 season. Johnson turns 32 in May but he’s showing no signs of slowing. Besides, there are offensive tackles playing into their 40s these days (see: Jason Peters and Andrew Whitworth). Johnson, who is signed through 2025, should have plenty of good football ahead of him as the Eagles’ starting right tackle.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Lane Johnson: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Stay
    (4765 votes)
  • 1%
    Go
    (85 votes)
4850 votes total Vote Now

ANDRE DILLARD

STATS: 340 snaps, 5 starts, 46th out of 88 tackles graded by PFF, 1 sack allowed, 1 hit allowed, 18 hurries allowed, 7 penalties

PLAYOFF STATS: 1 special teams snap

REVIEW: Dillard had a pretty bad training camp. It became clear early on that he was not a serious contender to beat out Mailata for the starting left tackle job. Dillard was beaten with both speed and power during summer practices. He was flattened to the ground on more than one occasion; twice actually by a Jets journeyman (“Jeremiah Valoaga”) who wasn’t even in the NFL at all this season. It was fair to be concerned, then, about how Dillard might look during real game action. To his credit, Dillard rose above very low expectations by looking competent when filling in at left tackle after Mailata moved to right tackle to temporarily replace Johnson. Dillard did draw some unusually favorable matchups; the Dallas Cowboys were basically missing their offensive line while the Kansas City Chiefs were missing Frank Clark. Still, Dillard didn’t look like a disaster out there, which was certainly a step in the right direction. Dillard’s season did quietly end on a low note considering he was basically a healthy scratch for the team’s playoff appearance. A game in which a starting tackle (Johnson) got hurt and he still didn’t see the field over a journeyman (Le’Raven Clark) because he doesn’t offer any position versatility.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles should really trade Dillard. He’s going to be a free agent after the 2022 season. That is, unless the Eagles pick up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option worth just over $11.6 million. Declining to exercise that option prior to the May 2 deadline should be the no-brainer move. Why pay that much money to a backup left tackle only who turns 27 this year? I could see Howie Roseman trying to justify it by saying the Eagles can never have too much offensive line depth. My counter would be: Howie, you have a very great offensive line coach in Jeff Stoutland. He’s proved time and time again to be able to do more with less. And you’re already rostering a number of developmental offensive linemen. You’re simply not optimizing your resources by spending $11.6 million on a backup. This isn’t to say the Eagles should move Dillard at any cost. If their best offer is a seventh-round pick, for example, they can simply hold on to him for one more year and hope to maybe get a compensatory pick for him after he walks in 2023. But the guess here is there will be a market for Dillard that allows the Eagles to return something like a fourth-round pick. Doing a deal like that, which would clear his $2.2 million base salary in the process, should be acceptable. Dillard simply doesn’t have a future in Philly with Mailata and Johnson locked in to their starting roles for years to come.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Andre Dillard: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Stay
    (814 votes)
  • 82%
    Go
    (3903 votes)
4717 votes total Vote Now

LE’RAVEN CLARK

STATS: 74 snaps, 1 start, 87th out of 147 tackles graded by PFF, 0 sacks allowed, 0 hits allowed, 5 hurries allowed, 0 penalties

PLAYOFF STATS: 23 snaps

REVIEW: The Eagles signed Clark in May last year. He missed most of training camp and the preseason while recovering from a torn Achilles. Clark was considered to be on the roster bubble but began the season on the practice squad. He then spent nearly a month on the practice squad injured reserve list. In an effort to likely prevent him from being poached, the Eagles eventually signed Clark to the roster and gave him an extension through 2022 in the process. Clark started the Eagles’ meaningless Week 18 game and then filled in for an injured Johnson during Philly’s playoff appearance.

OUTLOOK: If Dillard is gone, as he should be, Clark is the front-runner to be the Eagles’ swing tackle. The 29-year-old is an experienced option with 16 career starts and 51 games played under his belt. There’s reason to believe Clark can be more effective than he was in 2021 since he’ll be entering the season healthier (knock on wood).

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Le’Raven Clark: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Stay
    (2963 votes)
  • 19%
    Go
    (723 votes)
3686 votes total Vote Now

CASEY TUCKER

STATS: 12 snaps

REVIEW: Tucker spent time with the Eagles in training camp before briefly rejoining the team for a fourth Philly stint in December. Tucker made his regular season NFL debut in Week 18. The Eagles opted not to sign him to a futures contract so Tucker found one with the Denver Broncos instead. With all due respect, this was probably too many words spent on Casey Tucker.

OTHER PLAYERS WITH TACKLE VERSATILITY

We’ll cover the likes of Jack Driscoll, Brett Toth, and Kayode Awosika in our Eagles guard position outlook post. We’ll just note here that they are potential depth options at tackle moving forward.

FREE AGENCY OR TRADES

If the Eagles want to sign a guy for the veteran minimum, they can, but it’s not necessary. Veteran blocker Sam Tevi notably overlapped with Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen on the Chargers.

NFL DRAFT APPROACH

The Eagles won’t be using a first-round pick on an offensive tackle. Probably not a Day 2 selection, either. Look for them to add some more depth to the position on Day 3 and/or undrafted rookie free agency.