Brandon Brooks is likely heading to Injured Reserve with a pectoral strain, which means it’s time for the Eagles to get an extended look at their second-round pick.
Landon Dickerson is the next guy up.
While head coach Nick Sirianni said “nothing is final there” when asked about who the starting right guard will be while Brooks is gone, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be Dickerson, who filled in on Sunday after Brooks went down.
It wasn’t a very good performance from Dickerson, but the Eagles drafted him with the No. 37 overall pick in the spring. And it’s tough to see a scenario in which they start Nate Herbig over him.
This is going to be a glimpse into the future for the Eagles, who expect Dickerson to become a cornerstone of the franchise.
So how did Dickerson perform on Sunday?
“He played a solid game,” Sirianni said. “He's definitely — we all know that we all have to do things to improve based off last night or yesterday's game, but I thought he played solid for his first outing.
“Again, there's just some things with his pass pro we've got to clean up, assignments and stuff like that. But encouraged by his first [game action], his first time to play significant snaps.”
Sirianni’s saying there are some things in pass protection to clean up is one way to put it.
Dickerson played 33 snaps after Brooks went down on the first play in the second quarter. It was a rough NFL debut for the Alabama product. According to ProFootballFocus, Dickerson had 20 snaps in pass protection, giving up 5 total pressures, 4 hurries and 1 quarterback hit.
He was given an overall grade of 44.0 and a pass blocking grade of 4.2.
So, yeah, there are some things to work on.
But it’s also important to note that Dickerson was forced to come into that game cold with just a handful of practice reps with the first-team offense under his belt. And this was also his first real game action since the SEC Championship Game, when he tore his ACL.
Dickerson, 22, spent all summer working his way back from that knee injury and recovered in time to avoid the Non-football Injury list to start the season. He was inactive for Week 1 but dressed in Week 2 after finally becoming a full participant in practice.
Because of a minor knee injury to Brooks last week, at least Dickerson got a few practice reps in between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson.
“The first time that I got to practice with Landon was this week,” Johnson said on Sunday afternoon. “I’ll get more reps with him this week, or maybe Herbie. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Really this past week was the first week that I got some reps with Landon.”
Of course, Herbig has more NFL experience than Dickerson, having played in 19 games with 12 starts since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford back in 2019.
But Dickerson was widely considered to be a first-round talent that was only available at No. 37 for the Eagles because of his lengthy injury history. The Eagles have prioritized their future in 2021; because of that, you should probably expect to see Dickerson make his first NFL start next Monday night in North Texas against the Cowboys.
At 6-6, 333 pounds, Dickerson is a physical specimen. The Eagles have given him opportunities at guard and center since he returned to practice but coming into Sunday’s game he was probably the top backup at all three interior positions. If he gets extended time at guard this season, it might inform the Eagles’ decision on his best position fit long-term.
“He’s a massive human being,” Johnson said, “and when he starts figuring it out, he’s so strong and big that I think he can hold his own.”
There’s no question that losing Brooks for however long he’s out will hurt the Eagles. But at least we’ll all get to see a possible glimpse into the future.
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