HALAPOULIVAATI Vaitai, Issac Seumalo, Darrell Greene, and Bruce Johnson. These are the Eagles four rookie Offensive Linemen, and every one of them could one day become a starter for this team. Not just starters, but possibly long-term starters. How much the Eagles get out of these guys, comes down to how the Eagles coaching staff develops them. Because the expectations are there.
Issac Seumalo (G): Drafted high in the 3rd round (79th overall), Seumalo is expected to battle incumbent starter Allen Barbre for the LG spot. As a rookie, the Eagles want to see him take a job from a veteran. That expectation hasn’t waned even though Seumalo was forced to miss OTA’s.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai (T): Was selected in the 5th round, but isn’t expected to push either Jason Peters or Lane Johnson out of their spots. Barring injury, this lands Vaitai solidly on the bench for at least 2016.
Darrelle Greene (G): This is the most intriguing guy in this bunch as far as I’m concerned. When I watch tape of all of these guys, it’s Greene I like the most. The Eagles must have also seen something special in him, because they threw him more guaranteed money than any other Undrafted rookie in the NFL. At 105K, it was hardly a king’s ransom, but it still symbolizes that they expect him to be more than a “camp body”.
Bruce Johnson (C): This is a damned solid player to be found where the Eagles got him. He plays very good assignment football, and gives a full effort. He doesn’t appear to be very strong or explosive at the point of attack though. That means you can overpower him with a top-shelf NT (for example, guys like Vince Wilfork, Bennie Logan, or (former Steeler) Casey Hampton). Then again how many of those are even in the NFL?
There is potential here. My concern is, only one of these rookies is being looked at to push the starter ahead of him. What that means is, the other three rookie linemen will get fewer reps with the “Ones” on Offense, against the “Ones” on Defense. So then our future starters are honing their craft against second level guys, instead of the caliber of player they would normally face as a starter.
These rookies would benefit a great deal more from battling a guy like Fletcher Cox as opposed to battling a guy like Beau Allen. However, it will take someone on the Eagles coaching staff to give these guys the opportunity to have that experience.
We have the potential. The only question is, will we actually take the steps to develop it?