The Philadelphia Eagles love investing in the trenches so it was hardly a shock to see them select an offensive lineman with their second-round pick after going with a defensive lineman in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about Cam Jurgens, I reached out to SB Nation’s Nebraska blog: Corn Nation. Cornhuskers writer Brian Johannes was kind enough to answer my questions.
Before we dive into the Q&A, allow me to recommend watching this film breakdown from Brian.
1) Can you recap his college career?
Jurgens came to Nebraska as a highly recruited tight end but was moved to center halfway through his redshirt freshman year by head coach Scott Frost. Jurgen’s didn’t have the prototypical body for a tight end and Frost wanted to use his athleticism at center. Jurgens was able to add weight and took well to the position, winning the starting role as a redshirt freshman. Jurgens was plagued by snapping issues his first two seasons that had many calling for him to be benched. But Frost and offensive line coach Greg Austin stuck by Jurgens. While Jurgens was having snapping issues, as a blocker he was considered to be Nebraska’s best offensive lineman. During his redshirt junior season everything clicked with Jurgens as his snapping issues went away and he continued to block at an elite level.
2) What are his strengths?
An elite athlete for the position, Cam Jurgens uses his combination of speed, quickness and agility to open holes in the running game and keep quarterbacks clean in pass protection. As a run blocker Jurgens explodes off the ball to initiate contact and put himself in a position to win initially. While he lacks the power to drive defenders off the ball he has enough strength to steer defenders and then seal off running lanes. Jurgens was often put on the move using his agility and speed to get to the second level to occupy linebackers or pull outside to take on defenders in space.
In pass protection Jurgens uses his lateral agility to slide with defenders but also to redirect and keep defenders at bay. With issues at tackle for Nebraska, Jurgens was even asked to drop deep and pick up edge defenders from the center position. For being just a bit undersized Jurgens does have a good base and anchor that allows him to prevent defenders from bull rushing.
3) What are his weaknesses?
Jurgens doesn’t have elite strength or size for an interior lineman and will struggle at times to anchor in and move defenders. Since he is still young at the position he’ll have to learn the craft to compensate for his lack of bulk and strength. Jurgens has not played guard but I would assume he would be able to fill in if needed. He was able to transition from tight end to center so you would have to assume he’s able to learn another position as well.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
Jurgens went about where I expected. He was one of the best center prospects in the draft and with Tyler Linderbaum being drafted in the first round that made Jurgens going early in the second round a strong possibility. I viewed Jurgens as a top 50 prospect, so with the Eagles taking him at 51 was just outside that projection. Philadelphia was also one of the teams that I thought would consider him. I believed that if Jurgens would have returned for his senior season he could have been a first round pick.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
NFL success can largely but placed on prospects going to good fits. And Jurgens landing in Philadelphia is a perfect fit. Jurgens is talented prospect but he is still learning the position. Not having to come in and start day one will only benefit him. Not only has the Eagles shown the ability to sit and develop offensive lineman but he’ll have Jason Kelce to learn from. As we saw, Kelce was a big fan of Jurgens and told the Eagles to they should draft him. Kelce wants Cam to have success and is going to use his final year in Philadelphia to groom Jurgens to replace him. Can’t ask for a better tutor than one of the best centers in the NFL.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
Cam Jurgens is a hard working farm kid who has battled through adversity to get where he is now. Not only did Jurgens transition positions early in his career and dealt with performance struggles, but he also battled through some foot issues that cost him time in high school and early college. He’s a level headed player who wants to out work everybody else. Plus I heard he makes some good beef jerky.
BLG’s take: There’s a scenario where Jason Kelce retires after 2022 and the Eagles seamlessly transition to Jurgens as their new center without much drop-off. That would be ideal! But it’s hard to say that outcome is guaranteed given that 1) Kelce is a very special player and 2) he might not want to retire if he’s still enjoying playing at an All-Pro level. And thus there’s also a scenario where Jurgens doesn’t play much, if at all, in Year 1 and his outlook is uncertain entering Year 2. Jurgens demonstrating the guard versatilty that they claim he has in him will help his path to playing time. Jurgens might end up looking like a good pick in the long run but there’s a waiting game to be played here.