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July 08, 2024

Eagles 2024 training camp preview: Guard

The Eagles will have a slightly different look at offensive guard this upcoming season.

Eagles NFL
7.26.23_EaglesPractice_Tyler-Steen8355.jpg Colleen Claggett/for PhillyVoice

Tyler Steen will probably get the first crack at the starting RG job, but the Eagles are also likely to give him competition.

Over the next couple of weeks (basically whenever there isn't other news to cover), we'll take a look at every player on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster, and how they fit with the team heading into training camp. Today we'll look at the guards.

Previous training camp previews

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive tackle

The depth chart:

 LGLandon Dickerson Trevor Keegan
Gottlieb Ayedze
 RGTyler Steen Mekhi BectonJason Poe

*Matt Hennessy could have a chance to compete for the starting RG job along with Tyler Steen and Mekhi Becton, but we'll list him with the centers since that is his primary position.

Landon Dickerson

Dickerson is a quiet "do your job" type who has only missed two career starts due to injury after falling to the second round of the 2021 draft because of durability concerns. He has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons, playing in between Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata.

He scored a four-year contract extension this offseason worth $84 million. He then got himself a mower.

Tyler Steen

In the 2023 draft, the Eagles selected Steen with the second pick in Round 3, at 65th overall. Steen played his entire college career at offensive tackle, but the Eagles played him initially at guard, which made sense, given his short, 32 3/4" arms. It should be no surprise by now that if the Eagles take an offensive lineman with a high pick, that guy is going to have impressive athleticism. Steen has that, in addition to well above average size for a guard.

At the start of 2023 training camp, Steen was given the opportunity as a rookie to compete for the starting RG job with then second-year pro Cam Jurgens. That competition was very quickly won by Jurgens. Steen never looked fully comfortable at guard during the summer, but he looked good when he got reps at LT, his much more familiar position. 

During the 2023 season, Steen was a healthy scratch for each of the first four games of the season, and also each of the final three games. He only appeared in the regular offense in four games, with one start:

  1. Week 8 at Commanders: 6 snaps
  2. Week 9 vs. Cowboys (started): 62 snaps
  3. Week 14 at Cowboys: 2 snaps
  4. Week 15 at Seahawks: 1 snap

Otherwise, the team trusted Sua Opeta over him whenever they needed a reserve guard. Opeta played 528 snaps on the season (134 at LG, 394 at RG), while Steen played just 71 (3 at LG, 68 at RG). The Eagles did not show any urgency in retaining Opeta this offseason, and Opeta ending up signing a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

In May we took a look at Steen's performances against the Commanders and Cowboys in a detailed review of his game. I thought Steen showed some promise, despite getting roasted by Micah Parsons, who of course is one of the most athletic edge rushers ever. I would consider Steen the clear favorite for the starting RG job, but he certainly won't just be handed the job.

Mekhi Becton

Becton is a mammoth 6'7, 364-pound tackle who was a first-round selection (11th overall) of the Jets in the 2020 NFL Draft. His career got off to a promising start when he played reasonably well as a rookie at left tackle. However, he suffered a knee injury Week 1 in 2021 and missed the rest of the season. In 2022, he moved to right tackle but was injured during training camp and missed the entire season. He then reportedly ballooned to around 400 pounds.

In 2023, he dropped weight and started in 16 games.

PFF had him down for 12 sacks allowed and 16 (!) penalties in 2023.

The Eagles were expected (by me, anyway 🤷‍♂️) to draft an offensive tackle early in the 2024 NFL Draft, but that did not happen. Instead, they signed Becton a few days after the draft. 

During OTAs, Becton played on the first-team offensive line at RT in place of an absent Lane Johnson. During a three-day minicamp thereafter, he was once again playing with the starters, this time at LG in place of an absent Landon Dickerson. In that respect, Becton could presently be considered something of a "sixth man" in many scenarios, excluding center. He might also have a chance to compete for the starting RG spot with Tyler Steen (and others). He will be an interesting player to monitor during training camp.

In June, we took a detailed look at Becton's game. The Cliff's Notes is that he is both an intriguing and concerning player.

Trevor Keegan

Keegan is a rookie fifth-round pick. He was part of a stellar offensive line that carried Michigan to a National Championship. He is a rugged, physical guard whose calling card is as a mauler in the run game. Here are some highlights, where you can see his power and mean streak:

Keegan also tested reasonably well at the NFL Combine for a guy known as a road grader.

Keegan said during spring practices that he also played center in high school. The Eagles want their backups to have versatility in their game, so they may try to eventually cross-train Keegan at all three iOL spots.

For now, he's a longshot to earn a starting job at RG over guys like Steen, Becton, and Hennessy.

Gottleib Ayedze

Ayedze played LT for four years at Frostburg State (MD), before transferring to Maryland in 2023, where he mostly played RT. At 6'4 with 33" arms, his home in the NFL will likely be at guard. Ayedze is an undersized lineman who ran a fast 40. 

He is a developmental prospect who the Eagles could try to groom as a backup guard/tackle.

Jason Poe

Poe is a 6'1, 300-pound guard. He's been with the 49ers and Jets, never on a 53-man roster. That's all I got. 🤷‍♂️

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