Eagles fans were shocked and discouraged by hearing the recent news that RG Brandon Brooks would miss the entirety of the 2020 football season with a torn Achilles. Brooks was set for a big year as the best offensive player on the Eagles and one of the best in the entire league, but that all came to an end with this news, which begs the question, “how do we replace him?”. The answer is, we can’t. But there are potential options to make the blow hurt less. The Eagles being the organization they are, they will probably not take to the smartest method of replacing Brooks, but I expect at least one of the routes I outline to be taken.
Right Guard Larry Warford was recently released by the New Orleans Saints due to a high cap hit. This is by far the best route for the Eagles to look at. Warford became a staple of an already stacked offensive line in New Orleans, making three straight pro bowls all while missing only 4 combined games. In 2019, he allowed just 2 sacks on the year, which is a fantastic number. Warford will be 29 entering the 2020 year. Warford is the obvious choice to take the spot of Brandon Brooks, but I do not expect the Eagles to sign him to the team as it would actually be a smart move.
The Eagles have to look into bringing back veteran and future Hall of Fame tackle Jason Peters. Obviously moving Peters to RG may be difficult, but I think it would be a good option. Peters has consistently had a pro bowl level of play even while battling constant injuries and father time for the past 3 seasons. I’d much prefer Peters stay at LT as the blindside blocker for Carson Wentz, but the team has made it clear they are trusting Andre Dillard with that responsibility. Peters has veteran presence and experience that will make the transition to guard a more smooth one. It makes sense to give Peters this role, but again, don’t expect it.
Another unlikely but good option to replace Brandon Brooks is veteran free agent guard Ronald Leary. At 31, Leary does not have a full career left in the tank but can still be solid. Battling injuries the last 3 years, Leary has still been sufficient. In his last 4 years, Leary has allowed 3 sacks. Less impressive considering the missed games, but still good numbers for a veteran. Re-injury is likely, but getting as many games as we can out of Leary is positive and certainly better than in-house options.
Rookie Jack Driscoll was a solid late round pick coming out of college. Youth is especially important for the aging offensive line of Philly, and I believed they selected Driscoll expecting a major injury on the right side. I worry if Driscoll is too fresh out of college to produce in the NFL. His skills need work and I do not believe starting him will be successful for the Eagles. He can very well be solid, but it’s more likely he turns out to be horrible, which scares me.
This option scares me. Matt Pryor seems to be the most likely guy to replace Brooks this year. And to that I say, “what are you thinking?”. Pryor has not been terrible in his limited snaps, but I think he has the potential to be this year. I can see a total collapse by him as likely, and that is incredibly bad for Carson Wentz and the Eagles RBs. Pryor I don’t believe is ready for this spot. The Eagles seem to have confidence in him, but I believe the smarter options are the first three players I explained in the article earlier. I simply don’t trust Pryor at this point, based on his pre-season and regular season performances.