Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland talks about the depth behind his starters

The offensive line is a veteran group, but there are players to watch, particularly at center

The Eagles’ offensive line is a veteran group, with the exception, really of left guard Isaac Seumalo, and even the former third-round pick is entering his fourth season already.

Center Jason Kelce, guard Brandon Brooks, and tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are what they are, and what they have been is one of the best units in the NFL, the lynchpins of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run of two years ago. They figure to be right up there again in 2019 with one of the league’s best.

Even if injuries were to strike they seem well-fortified with the proper depth to overcome.

VIDEO: Jeff Stoutland on Jordan Mailata

Outside of veteran Stefen Wisniewski and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the depth is young and untested, particularly at center.

If Kelce gets nicked, the Eagles would like likely turn to Wisniewski. Beyond Wis, though, there are a couple of names fans may not have heard of. They are Anthony Fabiano and Keegan Render.

Those were the two names that line coach Jeff Stoutland brought up when asked about the future of the position in the present and future, when Kelce and Wisniewski.

“It’s nice to have Wisniewski back here,” said Stoutland. “He’s obviously a player that can play multiple positions. I know he knows exactly what to do from a center standpoint. I think it’s great. I think you have a couple younger players that are learning right now and doing a nice job.

“Anthony Fabiano is there working some third team. You have Keegan Render who’s a rookie who’s doing a really nice job of learning our system. We put a lot of pressure on those players because they’re in charge of making multiple calls, setting the protection, setting the run game, so I sort of battle test them.

“I require them in all our meetings to make calls in front of everybody so that if there is a deficiency he’s like oh, man I don’t know these calls so you better come to a meeting loaded for bear because you’re going to get many questions about the film watching.”

Render is 6-4, 307 pounds and was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Iowa, a Big 10 school typically known for building NFL-serviceable offensive linemen.

Fabiano is 6-4, 303 and has played in nine NFL games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard in 2016. He played four games with the Browns that year with one start then, in 2017, played five games with the Colts, with one start.

The rest of the depth along the line at guard and tackle include rookie first-round pick Andre Dillard and second-year draft picks Matt Pryor and Jordan Mailata, who spent the spring learning how to play right tackle, and four other undrafted free agents.

Mailata spent his first year ever playing football last year playing left tackle, but the O line coach said his progress on the right side is coming along.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done moving over to the right side and continue to see that progress,” said Stoutland. “He now knows that when I explain something to him, he gets it, ‘I know what coach is explaining to me,’ where before I think it was a little fuzzy.”

As for Pryor, Stoutland said he has the strongest hands of any player he’s ever been around.

“Matt is a unique player because he plays guard and tackle, all sides,” said Stoutland. “There’s no issue there. He’s got long, long arms and his hand strength might be as strong as I ever been around. His hand strength is so strong he gets his hands on you you’re kind of done.

“These are all valuable qualities to have and you can see that when he plays. I’m happy with his progress. He’s at the point now, it’s time now. When we insert you in the game, you are in the game for us and at that level of football. I’m happy for his progress. I can’t wait to see him in the preseason to be honest.”