TURNING HEADS

Brandon Graham can't stop raving about one Eagles rookie

TURNING HEADS

Brandon Graham can’t remember his name. But he sure remembers how he plays.

“Sixty-three … Jake … I forgot his last name.”

His last name would be Driscoll, and his first name is actually Jack, not Jake. But B.G. was close.

Driscoll, a 4th-round rookie offensive lineman from Auburn, has gotten the attention of Graham during the first week of training camp.

“I like him a lot,” said Graham, going into his 11th season. “I love his attitude so far, how he tries to finish blocks, you have to really work an edge on him because he’s a big body. The battle is pretty much (with) 63. I like what I see so far from him.”

Driscoll played right tackle at Auburn and was expected to convert to guard once he got here, but the Eagles have him working at second-team right tackle, which is interesting.

The past few years, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been the swing tackle, backing up both sides. But with Vaitai now in Detroit, Jordan Mailata has been working at backup left tackle and Driscoll on the right. Doug Pederson said Driscoll has gotten some occasional reps at guard during walkthroughs.

“He’s a guy that we can move inside,” Pederson said Thursday. “He's got that position versatility for us. We're excited about him.”

Unless you want to count Jason Peters, now playing right guard, the Eagles have no experienced depth at offensive tackle.  

Mailata is in his third year but has never played. Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho are rookies (and college teammates), Casey Tucker was on the practice squad part of last year but has never played in the league, and Julian Good-Jones is an undrafted rookie.

 

So there's a real opportunity here.

Driscoll, who’s 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, might eventually wind up at guard, but it sounds like right now the Eagles want to see their other young interior linemen - Pryor, Luke Juriga, Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta - and keep Driscoll primarily outside.

Where the Eagles probably need him more.

“He’s doing really good as far as learning the techniques,” B.G. said. “That’s going to be the biggest thing for him because he’s a big body, he’s aggressive, so I think once he learns the technical side of it of what Stout is asking him to do and getting comfortable - and that just comes with reps because it’s not just going to come right away – (he’ll be fine). But he’s looking good, because he’s coachable and that’s all you can ask for from a young guy coming in.” 

This is a strange year, and there are going to be rookies who play or even start regular-season games without ever playing in a preseason game.

That puts a real premium on the work these kids are getting now in this abbreviated training camp.

And by all accounts, Driscoll is making the best of a very difficult situation.

“He's a very athletic guy,” Pederson said. “He's a smart player. He details his work. He ... takes great notes, asks great questions in the meetings and then that translates to the field, and you see that carry over to the field. He's a hard worker. He's a pro, and he's a young player, but you can already see those traits in him to becoming a really good offensive lineman in this league.”

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