Commanders position groups vs. NFC East - OL
1. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles have built the best offensive line football by blending two Pro Football Hall of Fame caliber vets (Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson) with young All-Pro caliber players (Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata). Their biggest concern this year will be replacing the fifth member of that line – left guard Isaac Seumalo, who signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers this off-season.
Cam Jurgens or Tyler Steen – both Day 2 draft picks from quality college programs could take over. The former is likely to be Kelce's eventual replacement at center and the latter is slated to take over at tackle when Johnson calls it quits. But for now, either could play guard.
This being the Eagles, they have a plan in place for this year, and for the future. They always have to be concerned about Johnson’s lingering ankle issues, and so Steen may be pressed into service at tackle earlier than expected. But unless they suffer multiple major injuries along the line as happened in 2020, Philadelphia should be fine.
2. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys barely edge out the totally rebuilt New York Giants for the second spot. A lot will depend on whether mammoth Matt Waletzko is ready to take over at right tackle. Projected starter Terence Steele is recovering from a devastating knee injury suffered late last season and his status is very much in doubt.
If Waletzko can play – or if Steele makes a remarkable recovery – they join the two Smiths – Tyler and Tyron on the left side of the line, and all-world guard Zach Martin to form a potentially excellent front five.
Tyler Biadasz is a serviceable center. Losing Steele hurts the depth a lot, and if Waletzko falters, Tyler Smith will have to shift back to tackle which would weaken the interior a lot.
3. New York Giants
It’s hard to remember that a few short years ago, this was arguably the worst line in the NFL. But good drafting and targeted free-agent signings have turned it around. Getting rid of Dave Gettleman didn’t hurt, either.
The only reason I have them ranked behind Dallas is that New York will be leaning heavily on two extremely talented, but inexperienced, players. If rookie center John Michael Schmitz - who I kind of think the Commanders should have taken in Round 2 - and second-year right tackle Evan Neal step up as expected, this line could be special.
Andrew Thomas has overcome his shaky rookie season to become one of the league’s best left tackles and veteran Mark Glowinski is a solid guard. The other guard spot is a concern right now.
The Giants hope that someone steps up from a group that includes Ben Bredeson, Josh Ezeudu, and even Shane Lemieux. I think either of the first two can fill the gap pretty well.
4. Washington Commanders
There’s a lot of wishful thinking going on within the Washington Commanders. If new free agents Andrew Wylie and Nick Gates can blend in at right tackle and center - if Sam Cosmi can stay healthy and justify his lofty draft status at right guard - if they miraculously find someone/anyone to give them quality snaps at left guard – then maybe this could be a decent line.
The Commanders may not be as reliant on health as the other teams in the division because the drop-off from the starters to the backups isn’t as pronounced. But that’s because those starters, though decent, are not special.
If rookies Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels are able to start by the end of the year, that would be a major step toward rebuilding a current liability.