Eagles Lose Their Best O-Lineman - What It Means For The Offense

All-Pro Right Guard Brandon Brooks is out for the season. Analysis and possible replacements. 

Right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a major leg injury during offseason workouts and will miss the entire 2020 season. The Philadelphia offensive line falls from No. 2 to No. 7 with this news. Their line was "Elite Top-Tier," a title reserved for the top 5; they are now only "Top-Tier," which is still very good.

Right guard Brandon Brooks carries a 4.125 grade in the model (high A, low A plus). Note I do not grade him as a straight 4.5 A++ like Quenton Nelson (IND). He's an excellent player, there are just a few even better, living in that rare air.

Primarily, Brooks' durability has been a concern for scouts. Besides the well-publicized anxiety, he tore the other Achilles a few years back. Dr. Jene Bremel might be able to speak more upon this phenomenon, but once an athlete tears one tendon, experts say this can create an opportunity to tear the other one down the line due to overuse.

Brooks is excellent, a legitimate Pro Bowl starter, but in terms of replacements, it's relatively easy to find a competent right guard to work between two legitimate All-Pro's in center Jason Kelce and right tackle Lane Johnson.

The chalk replacement in free agency is Larry Warford (NO). There are similarities between the hybrid-zone scheme New Orleans favors and the running attack Philadelphia Head Coach Doug Peterson learned from Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid. Jason Peters (PHI), returning to swap from LT to RG is an interesting late-career idea for Peters, who obviously knows the system. Mike Person (SF), Josh Kline (TEN), and Ron Leary (DEN) are also all out there and fit the scheme. But again, due to having two other All-Pro veterans on the roster, for the Eagles, adding a pricey vet might not be a "priority."

Matt Pryor (25-years-old, 6'7" second-year player from TCU) should be the early leader to replace Brooks. He acquired no starting experience as a rookie. Still, he did replace Brooks during the Seattle playoff loss when Brooks left with a shoulder injury.

Pryor has upside for a sixth-round pick, but Jack Driscoll, the fourth-round pick out of Auburn, has even more upside. Driscoll will get a chance to beat Pryor out in camp, and it's probably like 60 percent Pryor, 40 percent Driscoll if one were to handicap their odds. It will be difficult for any mid-round line rookie to steal a job without minicamp and other offseason workouts.

Overall, yes, this is terrible news for the Eagles as a franchise. But the line will be fine, assuming no other losses. Heck, if they add a Warford, they could even be elite again. Their long term cap situation as it relates to signing Brandon Brooks could be a problem. On the other hand, they do have several excellent tight ends and their asset as blockers are not currently reflected in the model. It's complicated but this can still be an extremely productive fantasy offense, with or without Brandon Brooks. The fact that it happened at this point in the offseason is good in a way. It's when the losses start piling up mid-season when everything can turn sideways for an offensive line.

Side note, Brooks started as a trading intern in the institutional brokerage department of the firm I used to work at, about a month after I quit the business to pursue writing full time. Brooks is said to be a kind, smart guy, with promising options for the future. This might be painting with a broad brush, but football coaches and scouts tend to dislike it when players have other interests or plans for the future. The picks of Pryor, Driscoll, and his Auburn teammate Prince Tega Wanogho in round six indicates the team has been planning for life after Brooks. After two blown Achilles tendons and the other physical and mental ailments, Brooks' career might be in doubt at the age of 30.

If you have a question about NFL offensive lines, please feel free to contact the author via Twitter.


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