Doug Pederson said his heart sank when he heard that Brandon Brooks tore his left Achilles on Monday. But life in the NFL goes on and the day after the injury, Pederson said the Eagles have already begun to think about their options to replace the Pro Bowl right guard.
They’ll look at internal options first.
As far as the plan moving forward, we’re still looking at a lot of options, obviously,” head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday morning. “Starting with our own roster and the guys that we have competing for those backup spots and possibly those starting spots. We obviously haven’t made any decisions.
“We’re going to take a look at a lot of different scenarios, different possibilities. We’ve got some time before training camp to try to sort these things out. At this time, we’re just feeling for Brandon and want to make sure everything goes smoothly with him and want to get him back on track for the future.
The top internal options to replace Brooks are …
Matt Pryor: The 2018 sixth-round pick was the guy who filled in for Brooks in the playoff game last season against the Seahawks. It was his first career start and he performed OK. He gave up 1 sack, 3 hurries and 4 pressures. But he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse among internal candidates.
Nate Herbig: The undrafted rookie from Stanford last season was on the roster for all of 2019 but was mostly inactive. He played three offensive snaps in the regular season finale against the Giants.
Jack Driscoll: The Eagles really like the fourth-round pick from Auburn. While Driscoll played right tackle at Auburn, he has previously played guard and many evaluators think that’ll be his best position at the next level. Might be hard for him to step in after there were no OTAs this spring.
Sua Opeta: Opeta was an undrafted rookie out of Weber State last year. He was promoted from the practice squad late in the season but never saw game action.
This is around the time of year the Eagles would normally be finishing their offseason workouts with a mandatory minicamp. Instead, they had completely virtual workouts this offseason because of COVID-19 and those wrapped up on Monday.
So Pederson hasn’t been able to evaluate these internal candidates all spring the way he would have been had there been OTAs.
“These guys have to understand that there’s a little bit of a sense of urgency once we get to training camp,” Pederson said. “Things are going to move fast. We as coaches need to evaluate these players, I have to put them in position to be successful, to show what they can do. That’s everything in the process of what we’re doing right now leading up to camp.”
If the Eagles don’t replace Brooks with a player already on the roster, there are some intriguing external candidates as well, including names like Jason Peters, Larry Warford, Kyle Long and more.
The regular season is scheduled to begin in less than three months.
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