Eagles place lineman Jordan Mailata on IR

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Eagles place lineman Jordan Mailata on IR

Jordan Mailata, the Eagles’ massive long-range Aussie offensive tackle project, won’t be making his NFL debut this year.

The Eagles placed Mailata on injured reserve Friday to add linebacker and special teams depth.

Mailata first appeared on the Eagles’ injury report on Thursday with a back issue that kept him out of practice. He was a full participant at practice on Wednesday, so it’s unclear exactly what happened or when.

The Eagles announced the move after head coach Doug Pederson had met with reporters covering the team.

Mailata, an Australian professional rugby player of Samoan descent, was the Eagles’ seventh-round draft pick this past fall despite having no organized football experience.

Nonetheless, he showed a remarkable level of strength, power and athleticism at offensive tackle during the preseason, and the Eagles made sure to keep him on the 53-man roster so they wouldn’t lose him.

With Jason Peters turning 37 in January and often injured, Mailata is seen as a possible heir apparent to the future Hall of Fame tackle. Or possibly a future right tackle if Lane Johnson eventually replaces Peters at left tackle.

Mailata, who stands 6-foot-8, 345 pounds, is 21 and doesn’t turn 22 until March. He was the fourth-youngest offensive lineman on an active roster in the NFL this year.

Mailata dressed out for three games — the Panthers, the first Cowboys game and the second Giants game — but didn’t play. He was inactive for the 10 others.

With the open roster spot, the Eagles signed linebacker B.J. Bello off their practice squad. 

Bello, 24, went undrafted out of Illinois State last year. He signed with the Browns and spent the year on their 53-man roster, playing in all 16 games, with 73 snaps on defense and 294 on special teams.

He was released on Sept. 1 this fall and spent a couple weeks on the Cards’ practice squad before getting released on Sept. 18. 

The Eagles signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 16.

Mailata becomes the 12th player to go on Injured Reserve for the Eagles this year. One of those, tight end Richard Rodgers, was activated off IR back to the 53 on Nov. 16.

LB Paul Worrilow, June 13 (torn ACL)
WR Mack Hollins, Sept. 6 (groin)
WR Mike Wallace, Sept. 19 (fractured fibula)
S Rodney McLeod, Sept. 29 (torn ACL)
RB Jay Ajayi, Oct. 8 (torn ACL in left knee)
DE Derek Barnett, Oct. 25 (torn rotator cuff in shoulder)
TE Josh Perkins, Nov. 16 (knee)
CB Ronald Darby, Nov. 17 (torn ACL in right knee)
CB Jalen Mills, Dec. 8 (foot)
RB Corey Clement, Dec. 11 (knee)
DE Josh Sweat, Dec. 11 (ankle)
OL Jordan Mailata, Dec. 14 (back)

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Roob Knows Podcast: Biggest offseason need for the Eagles

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Roob Knows Podcast: Biggest offseason need for the Eagles

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank and Ray Didinger give their final thoughts on the loss in New Orleans.

The guys react to the coaching changes the organization made on Thursday. 

Also, an early look at what promises to be a busy offseason.

1:00 - Roob and Ray still think Nick Foles was going to lead the Eagles to a win.
6:00 - Game changed on a single play.
13:30 - Eagles make some coaching changes on Thursday.
20:30 - Eagles must address the running back position.
30:45 - Neither Roob nor Ray can see the Eagles pursuing Kareem Hunt.
32:30 - Previewing Championship Sunday.

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Where will Eagles turn to fill desperate need at running back?

Where will Eagles turn to fill desperate need at running back?

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first three rounds since LeSean McCoy a decade ago.

This year it caught up to them.

The Eagles managed to hide their issues at running back for much of the regular season, getting by with a rotating committee that included Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Darren Sproles after Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement were lost for the season.

In the playoffs, the absence of an authoritative running attack was glaring.

With 42 rushing yards against the Bears and 49 against the Saints, the Eagles became only the fourth team in NFL history to rush for fewer than 50 yards in back-to-back playoff games (the same year).

Smallwood, Clement and Sproles have all had their moments, but they don’t project as a lead back, and we don’t even know if Sproles wants to keep playing. Ajayi is a free agent and coming off an ACL. Josh Adams went from averaging 14 1/2 carries the last six weeks of the season to getting one snap in the playoffs. Donnel Pumphrey is back after being released by the Lions but hardly looks like a prospect.

So you can make a pretty compelling case that running back is the Eagles’ biggest need this offseason.

The question is where do they get one.

The Eagles have two second-round picks, and this is a draft that should have terrific running back value in the second round.

With the Senior Bowl and Combine still to come, guys like the two Alabama backs — Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris — plus Iowa State’s David Montgomery, Kentucky’s Benny Snell, Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill and Georgia’s Elijah Holyfield are all intriguing prospects, and several of them will be on the board when the Eagles pick at No. 53 and 57.

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first round since Keith Byars in 1986 and that’s unlikely to change. But the second and third rounds— where they found Duce Staley, LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook — make sense, and the way Howie Roseman likes to wheel and deal, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Eagles find their way back into the third round.

If the Eagles decide to go the free agent route, there’s Le’Veon Bell, who is as talented as anybody and a great fit in this offense because of his tremendous receiving and blocking ability. But it’s hard to imagine the Eagles finding cap space to sign him, and his exhaustive workload with the Steelers — more than 1,500 touches before his 26th birthday — could be a red flag.

Tevin Coleman of the Falcons and Mark Ingram of the Saints are less-expensive options who are both effective runners and solid receivers.

Coleman is younger and has less wear and tear. Ingram has more of a proven body of work and for a 29-year-old two-time Pro Bowl back doesn’t have a ton of touches (14.6 per game over his eight-year career).

There’s also Ajayi, who is still only 25 and has been productive when healthy, but he’s coming off ACL surgery as free agency approaches, and the long-term state of his knees is a concern.

The Eagles have been unsettled at running back since Chip Kelly jettisoned McCoy. They’ve had a different leading rusher five straight years — McCoy in 2014, DeMarco Murray in 2015, Ryan Mathews in 2016, LeGarrette Blount in 2017 and Adams in 2018.

Roseman doesn’t say much, but he did come as close as he ever will to acknowledging that the Eagles have to be better at running back.

“We have to look at that, among other positions, and figure out where we are going forward,” he said. “We want to strengthen the roster, make sure we're improving the roster, we're not standing pat.”

The Eagles were able to make things work last year with Blount, Ajayi and Clement, but they need an elite receiving back to give Carson Wentz a consistent dump-off option, provide consistent production on the ground and help take the offense to the next level.

Someone they can count on when they face a top defense in the playoffs.

I like Ingram, but I prefer the idea of going running back in the second round and building around a prospect like Snell or Hill.

The Eagles have to get younger, faster and more consistent at running back, and they will definitely get that chance in April.

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