DeVonta Smith gets a lot of the attention and rightfully so.
The Eagles drafted the Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 10 overall pick and in his first NFL season, Smith is on pace for a 1,000-yard season and appears to be a budding star.
Just don’t lose sight of the Eagles’ second-round pick. Because Landon Dickerson is playing pretty well too.
“I think he had a really good game yesterday,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “We graded him out really well. And he played a really good game.
“Again, I haven't met with the team yet, we gave them today off, but he'll be getting a game ball with the rest of the offensive line. Any time you rush for over 200 yards, that offensive line is going to get a game ball. He was a big part of that, obviously.”
The Eagles gambled when they used the No. 37 overall pick on Landon Dickerson, also from Alabama. Dickerson was coming off an ACL tear and had a lengthy injury history. It’s too early to say if this gamble will pay off, but Dickerson has quietly been playing much better in recent weeks.
If the Eagles hit on both of their top picks from the 2021 draft, it would give the franchise a major boost.
Things didn’t start great for Dickerson this season. He first played a game and a half at right guard and struggled after Brandon Brooks went down with a pec injury.
While Dickerson has stiff-armed any built-in excuses for his poor start, he did miss all of training camp and was thrown into the deep end of the NFL pool.
But after Isaac Seumalo was lost for the season and Dickerson moved to left guard, he’s been getting better each week. He’s been improving in pass protection. In his first four games, Dickerson gave up 16 pressures and 4 quarterback hits. In the five games since, he’s given up just 5 pressures and 2 quarterback hits.
And at 6-6, 325 pounds, Dickerson is a juggernaut in the run game. He has played a big role in the last three weeks as the Eagles flipped philosophies, going with a run-first approach.
“I think he's just getting more and more comfortable with the different looks that he's getting from the defense and the different movements and the speed of the game and the strength of the game,” Sirianni said.
“He did a couple nice things, there was our last run of the day yesterday when we were in that four-minute – we had to get another first down to end the game. We couldn't take a knee because there was, like, [2:05] left. We saw him pull around the edge – we've seen him dominate inside and be able to move. But then yesterday, on that play, he was able to pull and was able to get out in the space and show athleticism out in space too.”
Dickerson, 23, has been his harshest critic this season. Even in recent weeks, after he’s been playing better, he still says he’s not playing to his standard or the standard set by offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
Stoutland is playing a huge role in Dickerson’s development but Sirianni also pointed at some of Dickerson’s veteran teammates. Sirianni said Jason Kelce’s veteran experience is “oozing off” to Dickerson. He’s also playing next to a mammoth tackle in Jordan Mailata and still has a support system that includes Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo.
Like we said, it’s still too early to say this gamble definitely paid off.
But it’s looking more and more that way with each passing week.
“I continue to see Landon get better,” Sirianni said. “He cares, he's tough, he's physical and he's going to just keep getting better.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: