Jordan Mailata is up next. As a 20-year writer, I’ve seen three total Eagles root for starting left tackles. Tra Thomas, a first-round pick who played with the Birds from 1998 to 2008, manned Donovan McNabb’s blindside and made three Pro Bowls. In the 2009 offseason, the team traded Bills star Jason Peters, who put together a Hall of Fame career and made four All-Pro teams in midnight green, staying with the Eagles through 2020. A new player has moved to Mailata. that mantle as the franchise left it, but he was an unlikely candidate for the role.

In a town where people half-seriously/half-jokingly asked if Mailata should be a quarterback for a few years, the left tackle now stands (or stands 6’8″) as the future of the Eagles’ offensive line that was. The most consistent unit in Philly sports over the past two decades. Mailata remained on the Eagles roster in 2018 and 2019, despite not playing a bit of “real” football in his life, shocking everyone with his ability after being brought into action in 2020. potential leaked and then helped anchor perhaps the best o-line offense in 2021 football.

It’s been a whirlwind from a rugby star to a player I expect to get All Pro attention this fall less than half a decade later. The upside is greater than even the most optimistic members of the Eagles organization could have imagined, taking a flier on the Aussie kid in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, who now appears poised to become the team’s left tackle to handle the rest. decade. That early success isn’t lost on Mailata, but the hunger that drove him from a player who had never worn a chin strap before to LT winning battles against the league’s best pass rushers is still there.

“It’s easy: It’s easy,” Mailata said after the Eagles’ practice Saturday about continuing that drive. “For me it’s just, I know being an international player, that chip is always going to be on my shoulder. People won’t respect me, so I have to prove it every day. must earn it every day. Every day, you have to make daily deposits. It’s the same mindset I’ve had since I was a rookie. It’s the same mindset I have now.

“So I think it’s been easy for me to have the mindset of being that dog that I have to prove every year, every game, every day.”

Indeed, hungry dogs run faster.

Mailatha knows the praise is there and will keep coming. A lad who had never played football before, he found himself in the most football-crazy city in the world with an open-book personality that easily endeared him to the Eagles faithful.

“I think it’s nice, but I like it [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] “It’s cool,” Mailata said of the buzz surrounding his game as he makes the leap to stardom. This line of “poison” is one that Jaylen Hurts has mentioned in the past as well, a sign of Nick Saban’s philosophy. The University of Alabama, where Stoutland previously coached under Saban.

“I take that with a grain of salt,” Mailata continued. “I appreciate the kind words, but at the same time I know I could have been a little better. And I know if it’s a bad rep then I know it’s a bad rep then I can look at myself. the mirror and say that. “Look, you’ve got to get better at it.” I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses, so it’s up to me to be accountable to this team.”

I wouldn’t say Mailata had many bad reps, if any, after the Eagles’ first week of practice. In training camp, when players are just in holsters and helmets, it’s hard to really appreciate the run game and the trench game. That physics is a different world in August and then the regular season. It is glorified to some extent in the summer of 7-on-7. Eagles fans won’t have to wait too long to hear about that soupy, legit action, as it’s on its way next week.

“I can’t wait for the pads to arrive,” Mailata said.

He speaks for all of Philadelphia there.


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