The Philadelphia Eagles have been spoiled the past few seasons at the right guard position. After painfully watching Matt Tobin protect Eagles quarterbacks in 2015, the team decided to go out and lock up one of the best guards available in 2016 when they signed Brandon Brooks to a 5-year/$40 Million deal. After securing their offensive line during the free agency period, the team went on to draft their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz with the 2nd overall pick in the draft.
Brooks has been nothing short of spectacular at the position, committing only seven penalties and allowing just six sacks since 2016. The Eagles have a conundrum on their hands though entering the 2019 season, as Brooks is recovering from a torn achilles suffered during the Divisional Round matchup against the Saints. Howie Roseman and his staff did not address the position in free agency or the draft, so what is the team's plan to protect Carson Wentz from that position this upcoming season?
94WIP's Howard Eskin reported this afternoon that Brooks will be ready to start the 2019 season. But with that being such a serious injury, Brooks and the medical staff could choose to be extra cautious and let him sit out the first couple of games. If he does in fact miss the start of the season, the Eagles could choose a number of different directions to address the position until Brooks is ready.
Even though the position wasn't addressed directly in the offseason via free agency or the draft, the team did bring in some guards as undrafted free agents (Ryan Bates, Nate Herbig, Iosua Opeta). One of those three players could impress enough in Training Camp or the preseason and earn spot on the 53-man roster, and be plugged into the starting offensive line until Brooks returns, which would then push the Training Camp battle winner back to the bench.
After initially releasing him earlier in the offseason, the Eagles bought back Stefan Wisniewski, who could be part of the solution on the offensive line. Although Wisniewski has primarily played at left guard and center in the NFL, Isaac Seumalo (who is currently slated to be the starting left guard) has experience at right guard. The team could feel comfortable enough letting Wisniewski return to left guard and plug in Seumalo at right guard until Brooks is healthy. Then when Brooks returns Seumalo would shift back to left guard and Wisniewski would be relegated to the bench.
The Eagles have been doing some experimenting during OTAs the past few weeks which could foreshadow the team's plans at offensive line. With the addition of Andre Dillard, the team has let Jordan Mailata get some snaps at right tackle since his future doesn't appear to be at left tackle anymore. Now that there seems to be a logjam at the right tackle position, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been getting some snaps at right guard. If that experiment goes well, the team could feel comfortable enough letting Vaitai start games at right guard until Brooks is at 100%.
So in a dream scenario, Brooks will be completely healthy by Week 1 and the offensive line will look like this against Washington at the Linc:
Rehab updates on Brooks and the progress of Mailata and Vaitai changing positions will be important to watch this summer.