Landon Dickerson took a big step forward on Monday in what he and the Eagles hope is a long and productive NFL career.
After spending all of training camp on the Eagles’ Non-football Injury list because of a torn ACL suffered in the SEC Championship Game, Dickerson was officially activated on Monday and practiced for the first time as an Eagle.
The 22-year-old has already been impressing his veteran teammates.
“Obviously, Landon is a big kid but don’t sleep on his athleticism, now,” longtime center Jason Kelce said. “He can move really well. You see it in the weight room numbers, you see it out on the field. This was his first day back in pads but he’s been running and doing things, getting ready to play here. He’s got some very good tools.
“Obviously, he was picked that high for a reason. Very strong kid, very powerful kid and like I said a really good athlete. And he’s also really strong. All those things usually translate into a pretty good offensive lineman.”
Dickerson on Monday was limited to position drills but eventually will be worked into team drills. He wouldn’t commit to when he’ll be ready to play, which is OK because the Eagles seem pretty set with their starting lineup going into the season anyway.
For now, this is about getting Dickerson on the field and into a practice setting. It’s about furthering the development of a player who could be special if his injury-plagued body can hold up to the rigors of the NFL.
Had Dickerson started the seasons on the NFI, the No. 37 pick would have missed at least the first six weeks and would not have been able to practice.
“It felt great to be back on the field,” Dickerson said. “I know I’ve been on the sideline watching, but it’s a tremendous feeling just to be able to be a part of the team again, get back out there, be with my guys, be with my teammates. I’ve trusted the process with the staff here, athletic training, doctors, all that stuff. And it’s really just been whenever I felt comfortable and they felt comfortable with me getting back out on the field.”
Even though he hadn’t practiced with the Eagles until Monday, Dickerson has been impressing his teammates with his football IQ and his personality.
His football IQ has been evident in the meeting room. And his personality was evident when he showed up to the Eagles’ second preseason game shirtless in overalls.
“He’s super intelligent,” Lane Johnson said. “You can tell he’s played a lot of high level football at Alabama. He’s not really slacking there. I think he’s just eager to get back on the field. He transition to doing some individual today and slowly start getting more team reps. He’s super big, super strong and he’s a funny son of a b— too. He’s a character. Hopefully, he’ll let me borrow some of his overalls if I need them.”
The biggest question surrounding Dickerson hinges on when he’ll be healthy enough to play.
The next biggest question is about what position he’ll end up playing for the Eagles. Dickerson has the size (6-6, 333) to be a mauler as a guard in the NFL but he has the athleticism and intelligence to play center. No matter what, Dickerson projects as a starter for the Eagles next season.
“I think he can do whatever the team needs him to do regardless of what position he’s at, whether it’s center, guard, whatever it is,” Kelce said. “He’s got enough of everything that he can do it all. He’s going to be really good in the power schemes, he’s going to be really good in the zone schemes. I think he has enough tools across the board that he doesn’t need to be a scheme-dependent guy.”
There’s a chance that Dickerson could replace Kelce as the Eagles’ center next year. But maybe the Eagles want to put Isaac Seumalo in that role and replace Seumalo with Dickerson. Or maybe the Eagles even decide to move on from Brandon Brooks (they entertained thoughts about trading him this offseason) and plug Dickerson in that right guard spot.
On Monday, during early drills, Dickerson was snapping the ball, getting some work as a center.
Already showing plenty of media savvy, Dickerson sidestepped every question about positions. Would you be comfortable playing center and making the calls? Whatever the coaches want me to do. Are you going to play both positions over the next few weeks? Whatever the coaches want me to do.
“He wants me to snap today, play a little center, that’s what I’m going to do,” Dickerson said. “If he comes in tomorrow and tells me I’m a punter, heck, I’m going to try to be a great punter.”
It sounds like he can already do everything else. Heck, maybe he has a leg too.
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