Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series examining where 2020 NFL Draft picks from Auburn landed last week and how those situations will affect their professional careers. The series will also look at how Auburn will try to replace each player.
The Philadelphia Eagles were among the most snakebitten teams in the NFL when it came to injuries last season. The Eagles still hobbled into the playoffs despite the injuries, but in the wild card round they suffered an injury they couldn’t recover from.
After just one completed pass, quarterback Carson Wentz was injured, and Seattle went on to eliminate the Eagles.
Wentz has had a a history of injury problems, with last season being his first as a professional where he started every game. Most famously, a Wentz injury allowed Nick Foles to take the reins and lead Philadelphia to a Super Bowl victory just a couple years ago.
The Eagles don’t want to have to rely on replacing Wentz for every postseason moving forward. With stalwart left tackle Jason Peters a free agent, they turned to Auburn to add talent to the offensive line and protect Wentz.
With a pair of Day 3 picks, Philadelphia selected both Tigers tackles from this season with Jack Driscoll in the fourth round and Prince Tega Wanogho in the sixth.
Going into the draft, Wanogho was thought to be the higher rated of the two prospects, but injury concerns plus Driscoll’s positional flexibility flipped that narrative during the draft.
Where they fit in:
After losing Peters, Philadelphia will be counting on 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard to fill that void at left tackle, and right tackle Lane Johnson is one of the best in the NFL at his spot.
With Dillard elevated to the starting lineup, the Eagles needed a new swing tackle, and Wanogho seems like the obvious replacement if healthy. His quick feet mirror the biggest asset that Dillard and Johnson bring to the table.
“He was a left tackle that we really liked his feet, his quickness, his ability to run off the ball and his ability to anchor in the pass game,” Philadelphia vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said during the Eagles’ virtual post-draft press conference. “We love the competitiveness he played with.
“He is a guy that didn’t let up one sack this year and was really efficient in pass protection. We think he fits our profile of offensive linemen that can run, get out in space and pass protect and anchor when called upon to protect the quarterback.”
Driscoll played right tackle at Auburn but played some guard during his time at UMass. That is where he projects to play at the next level.
The Eagles have a veteran group on the interior of the line as well, led by guard Brandon Brooks and center Jason Kelce. While both Brooks and Kelce are elite at their positions, both are getting older and Driscoll may very well be looked at to be a fixture moving forward.
Neither Wanogho nor Driscoll are projected to start as rookies, but both are very important depth pieces and virtual locks to make the final roster.
What they say about them:
“We saw an opportunity with him,” Weidl said of Wanagho. “Credit to (Eagles’ executive vice president and general manager) Howie (Roseman) for jumping on it. Everybody went in there and had pretty consistent grades on him. It was a great job by the scouts identifying him and then by Howie executing the pick.”
How Auburn replaces them:
With five senior starters going into the 2019 season, Auburn knew 2020 would be a transition season. They got a jump start on that transition midway through last season with Nick Brahms taking over for senior Kaleb Kim at center.
Brahms will be counted on to be a leader up front this season, but on the ends of the offensive line, there isn’t near as much experience.
Juniors Alec Jackson and Brodarious Hamm return after cracking the Tigers’ depth chart as reserve offensive tackles last season. The Tigers added a pair of JUCO offensive tackles from California this offseason with early enrollee Kilian Zierer and Brenden Coffey. Both players are rated as three-stars by 247Sports, with Zierer as the No. 20 JUCO recruit in the nation and Coffey being No. 27.
They also have added Akron graduate transfer Brandon Council. The former Zip will have two years to play at Auburn and has experience at both guard and tackle.
The transition up front extends to the coaching staff with Jack Bicknell taking over as the offensive line coach. The former Louisiana Tech head coach has experience as a NFL offensive line coach for both the Chiefs and Steelers. He most recently was the offensive line coach at Ole Miss.
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