Eagles Insider

A look at Eagles rookie o-linemen who started a season opener

Eagles Insider
Jack Driscoll on Sunday will become the 10th rookie offensive lineman to start a season opener for the Eagles in the last 40 years.
 
It’s an interesting list because the last three eventually became Pro Bowlers and the last six had long careers.
 
All nine did have the luxury of playing in preseason games, which Driscoll did not.
 
Driscoll, a rookie 4th-round pick from Auburn, is scheduled to start at right tackle against Washington Sunday at FedEx Field in place of injured Lane Johnson, who is actually the last Eagles rookie offensive lineman to start an opener.
 
Nate Herbig will make his first NFL start as well, filling in for Brandon Brooks at right guard. He did play in two games last year, but it's still the first time in 21 years two Eagles offensive linemen will make their first career starts in the same game.
 
Let’s take a look at nine previous Eagles rookies since 1980 who’ve started a season opener:
 
RT Lane Johnson 2013 [1st round]
Johnson, the 4th pick in the 2013 draft, was the starter throughout training camp. He started the 2013 opener, which was also against Washington at FedEx Field. This was Chip Kelly’s first game as head coach and the Eagles built a 33-7 lead in the third quarter before hanging on for a 33-27 win.
 
The Eagles piled up 443 total yards, but it was an up-and-down day for Johnson, who was responsible for Ryan Kerrigan, who had a sack, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
 
C Jason Kelce 2011 [6th round]
Kelce beat out Jamaal Jackson in training camp for the starting center spot, and the Eagles rolled over Sam Bradford and the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis in his first game, amassing 403 yards in a 31-13 rout. The Eagles ran for 236 yards the day. Kelce has gone on to become a three-time all-pro center.
 
RG Shawn Andrews 2004 [1st round]
The Eagles had little trouble moving the ball against the Giants, picking up 454 total yards in a 31-17 win at the Linc in Andrews’ first start. Donovan McNabb threw 36 times and was sacked twice, once on a blitz and once by Michael Strahan. Andrews made two Pro Bowls and an all-pro team before his career was cut short by injuries.
 
LG Doug Brzezinski 1999 [3rd round]
The Eagles blew a 24-6 third-quarter lead and lost 25-24 to the Cards on a Chris Jacke field goal with no time left. This was the famous Brian Finneran game, when the future Falcons star drop an easy touchdown pass from Eagles quarterback Doug Pederson.
 
It wasn’t a great day for the Eagles’ offense. Pederson threw TDs to Duce Staley - who’s now on his staff - and Luther Broughton, but he passed for only 91 yards and threw two interceptions. Brzezinski started all 16 games as a rookie but only 14 more in his six-year career.
 
RT John Welbourn 1999 [4th round] 
This was the last game before Sunday’s in Washington that the Eagles had two opening-day starting offensive linemen who had never started a game before. 
 
Welbourn tore his ACL in the second quarter and was replaced by Jermane Mayberry, but he was the Eagles’ regular right tackle through 2003 and spent eight years in the NFL.
 
LT Barrett Brooks 1995 [2nd round]
With 1994 starter Bernard Williams suspended for the season Barrett Brooks was the Eagles’ opening-day starter at left tackle.
 
The Eagles lost 21-6 to the Bucs at the Vet and started the season off 1-3 before Rodney Peele replaced Randall Cunningham and rallied them to a 10-6 record and a playoff win over the Lions. 
 
Brooks started three years for the Eagles and spent 11 years in the NFL, eventually winning a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2005, and he's now an analyst with NBC Sports Philadelphia.
 
LT Bernard Williams 1994 [1st round]
Williams only played one NFL season, but he was an all-rookie pick and started all 16 games as a rookie. 
 
His first game was a 28-23 loss to the Giants in East Rutherford. Randall Cunningham threw for 344 yards and TD passes to Calvin Williams and Mark Bavaro, but he was sacked five times and the Eagles only ran for 78 yards.
 
RT Antone Davis 1991 [1st round]
Davis started 74 of a possible 80 games his five years with the Eagles, and in his debut the Eagles easily beat the Packers 20-3 at Lambeau Field despite losing Cunningham for the season in the first quarter on a cheap shot by Packer linebacker Bryce Paup.
 
LT Kevin Allen 1985 [1st round]
The Eagles managed only 168 yards in the 21-0 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands, the fewest yards they’ve ever had in a season opener (they had 159 against Washington in 1958).
 
Ron Jaworski was sacked eight times, including three times by Leonard Marshall and 2 1/2 times by Lawrence Taylor. It was the Eagles’ first opening-day shutout since 1941. 
 
Allen never played again after his rookie year.