Eagles

After early hiccup, Eagles' Jordan Mailata finds stride in NFL debut

After early hiccup, Eagles' Jordan Mailata finds stride in NFL debut

One would assume Jordan Mailata was beaten for a sack on the first play of his first NFL game because it was also the first time he was playing organized football at any level — but that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Judging from the way he played the rest of the night, nerves may have as much or more to do with Mailata getting beat than the fact he’s still totally new to the sport.

“Going into next week’s game against the Patriots, I’ll feel a bit more comfortable,” Mailata said after the Eagles’ 31-14 preseason loss to the Steelers (see breakdown). “I just had some jelly legs out there on my first snap.”

Mailata entered the game at left tackle in the third quarter and immediately received an education. Steelers linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi went right around the 6-foot-8, 346-pound Australia native and stripped the ball from Eagles backup quarterback Joe Callahan.

It felt like a harbinger of things to come for Mailata, a professional rugby player until the Eagles selected him with a seventh-round draft pick in April.

Instead, the 21-year-old elevated his performance.

“I tried to finish strong,” Mailata said. “I think I did reasonably — reasonably — well in the last quarter.”

Mailata was quiet the rest of the night, which is paying a compliment to an offensive lineman. He definitely wasn’t on the hook for any more sacks, didn’t make any glaring mistakes, wasn’t called for any penalties and didn’t really allow much more pressure on the quarterback.

At one point, Mailata even did something quantifiably good, jumping out of his stance while a Steelers defender was in the neutral zone before the snap to draw a five-yard penalty.

“[Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] usually at training says if a guy jumps, go ‘Oogaboogabooga,‘” Mailata said. “That’s what he calls it, oogaboogabooga.

“As soon as I saw him jump, I was like, ‘Oogaboogabooga.‘ In Stout we trust.”

Stoutland wasn’t the only person on the Eagles’ sideline lending a helping hand. Fellow left tackles Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai were in Mailata’s ear the entire time, as were many other others.

“Everyone,” Mailata said. “Coach Stout, vets, everyone was helping me out. It was really nice having that support, especially after that first play and I f----- it up. That’s pretty much what happened, but I own my mistake and I know I’ve learned from it.

“I felt there was a lot at stake. At the same time, the vets kept reminding me just keep focusing on the next play. They told me, ‘You’re going to make mistakes, and when you make it, focus on the next one and we’ll fix it the next day.’”

It didn’t look like Mailata made too many mistakes, though. To the contrary, while it was only his first NFL game — first football game of any kind — it looked like this experiment may very well pay off for the Eagles.

“I love [football] now,” Mailata said. “I just need to get more comfortable and more confident. That’s the only way to improve my game.”

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Based on history, look for Eagles to draft a lineman first again

Based on history, look for Eagles to draft a lineman first again

Since 1991, the Eagles have had 25 first-round draft picks.

Three receivers. Two quarterbacks. One cornerback.

And 19 linemen.

This is Howie Roseman’s philosophy. It’s Joe Douglas’s philosophy. It was Andy Reid and Tom Heckert’s philosophy and, even before Big Red got here, it was Tom Modrak’s philosophy.

Build up the lines first.

And nobody has done it more than the Eagles.

Since 1991, the Eagles have drafted more linemen in the first round than any other team.

They’ve taken 11 defensive linemen — tied for most in the league during the last 28 drafts — and they’ve taken eight offensive linemen, third-most behind the Seahawks and Lions.

The most combined linemen?

19 … Eagles [8 OL, 11 DL]
17 … 49ers [6 OL, 11 DL]
16 … Rams [6 OL, 10 DL]
14 … Seahawks [9 OL, 5 DL]
14 … Lions [9 OL, 5 DL]
14 … Saints [6 OL, 8 DL]
13 … Patriots [6 OL, 7 DL]
13 … Cardinals [6 OL, 7 DL]
12 … Jets [2 OL, 10 DL]
12 … Buccaneers [3 OL, 9 DL]
12 … Vikings [8 OL, 4 DL]

The only non-linemen the Eagles have taken in the first round since 1991?

Quarterbacks Donovan McNabb in 19991 and Carson Wentz in 2016, both with the No. 2 pick. Receivers Freddie Mitchell in 2001, Jeremy Maclin in 2009 and Nelson Agholor in 2015. And cornerback Lito Sheppard in 2002.

And you know what? There’s a good chance they’ll take another one this year at No. 25.

Much of the rest of the league has adopted the Andy Reid philosophy to build up the lines first and then fill in the blanks.

Most mocks drafts have 17 to 19 linemen going in the first round this year — more than half.

During Roseman’s years as general manager — 2010 through 2018, minus 2015 — the Eagles have taken four defensive linemen (Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett), two offensive linemen (Danny Watkins, Lane Johnson) and Wentz.

With picks in the first half of the draft?

The only non-linemen since 1989 are McNabb and Wentz.

You’re always a product of the people you’re around, and just growing up in this environment and this system and where coach Reid was and someone that really put a huge emphasis on that, it was something that stuck," Roseman said. "We won a lot of games with that philosophy. We try to study what other teams are doing, what successful teams are doing, and you see, it’s important obviously to build along the lines and sometimes you say that, but you have to reflect it also with your actions.

Roseman first joined the Eagles in 2000 as a salary cap intern, so he was around Reid from Corey Simon through Cox.

And Douglas, Roseman’s No. 1 adviser and the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, shares his philosophy to build from the inside out:

Joe and I, when we started talking about building teams, it was quickly apparent that we believe in the same things. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t disagreements on certain players, that doesn’t mean there are other things that we kind of see differently because of his background and how he was raised in this business, but that adds to it.

The first round of this draft is jam-packed with talented defensive, and there are some very good o-line prospects as well.

The Eagles don’t generally draft for need, but of their five projected 2019 offensive line starters and four projected d-line starters, only Isaac Seumalo will be under 29 when OTAs start next month.

So you can hope for a receiver, a running back or a cornerback. Based on what we know about Howie? Based on recent history? Based on what just may make the most sense?

It’ll be a lineman. Again.

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Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

If you quickly thought “W” when you saw the Eagles were hosting Washington at the Linc to open up the 2019 regular season, you’re not the only one. 

The Eagles opened up as eight-point favorites on FanDuel. That’s pretty consistent with other sports books too. I’ve also seen them at 8 1/2. 

That eight-point spread is the biggest of Week 1 in the NFL, but that shouldn’t be too surprising. Maybe if Washington trades for Josh Rosen, that changes. Maybe if they draft a quarterback in the first round, that changes. But for now? That seems about right. 

Washington fell apart last year, but the Eagles beat them 28-13 in Week 13 and 24-0 in Week 17. In the last two seasons, the Eagles are 4-0 against the Skins and have beaten them by an average of 15 1/2 points per game. If that continues, they'll cover easily. 

Elsewhere in NFL Week 1, the Seahawks are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Bengals, the Cowboys are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Giants and the Saints are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Texans. Those three favorites are also at home. 

Taking a quick look at FanDuel’s futures odds, the Eagles are tied for the seventh-longest odds to win the Super Bowl at +1,600. That means if you bet $100, you’d win $1,600. 

Here are current Super Bowl odds: 

Patriots: +700
Chiefs: +800
Saints: +850
Rams: +900
Browns: +1400
Chargers: +1400
Bears: +1600
Colts: +1600
Eagles: +1600
Packers: +1800
Vikings: +2000
Steelers: +2000
Cowboys: +2300
Falcons: +2600
Texans: +2800
Seahawks: +2900
49ers: +3000
Jaguars: +3300
Ravens: +3400
Panthers: +5000
Titans: +5000
Raiders: +5500
Broncos: +6000
Giants: +6000
Jets: +6000
Buccaneers: +6000
Bills: +8000
Lions: +8000
Redskins: +8000
Bengals: +10000
Cardinals: +11000
Dolphins: +12000

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