Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni loves competition -- and he is going to be getting it at one of the most important positions on the field.
Speaking Wednesday, Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland didn’t hold back when discussing a potential competition between Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard for the left tackle job when training camp opens in late July.
“There is definitely one. I think anytime there is competition like that, and it is that close, it brings the best out of both players,” Stoutland said. “Both players have to be on everyday, all day. Because it is competition. Whoever is the most productive, whoever does the best, who has the best value going into the season will be the starter.”
As to who will make the final decision on the starting left tackle, Stoutland deferred to head coach Nick Sirianni.
“As the position coach I am going to have input on that, but I think ultimately the head coach will be the one who approves or disapproves,” Stoutland said. “He’ll be the one to make that decision along with the input I provide him.”
Stoutland went on to say that neither player is ahead of the other right now, although in the portions of practice that have been open to reporters, Mailata has been with the first team.
Right now, however, the Eagles are just in the voluntary portion of the offseason, and have been on the field for the most part without even having helmets on. So while Mailata might in front now, the job is far from a lock to be his, especially when you consider the two players.
On the field, there is no denying Mailata has outplayed Dillard over the last two seasons. Dillard did not impress as a rookie in 2019 and then missed all of the 2020 season with a shoulder injury. Mailata, on the other hand, was impressive at the end of the last season when he took over for Jason Peters as the starting left tackle.
Off the field, however, there is no denying the Eagles are better off if Dillard wins the job.
Not only is Dillard a former first-round pick, but is contract situation is far more team friendly. If Mailata wins the job and plays at a high level this season he will be in line for a new, expensive contract next offseason. There is also the concern about the back issues Mailata has dealt with considering he is 6-foot-5, 310 pounds.
Dillard, on the other hand, is under contract for two more seasons plus the potential of the fifth-year option. If Dillard wins the job this season the Eagles would have their starting left tackle under a cost-controlled, team-friendly deal. Add in the fact that Dillard is currently one of the biggest busts on Roseman’s resume, and the former first-round pick winning the job is definitely in the team’s interest.
Of course, the hope is none of that plays a role in who wins the job. The Eagles need to have the best left tackle out there protecting the quarterback. Dillard’s team-friendly contract won’t matter if he can’t play.
Who will win the job is unclear, but one thing is very obvious heading into training camp — the battle at left tackle is going to be a very interesting and important one.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!