All the attention has been over at the left tackle spot this offseason. Maybe the spotlight should be on the next position over, at left guard.
Isaac Seumalo has quietly been one of the best guards in the NFL since coming into his own in 2018. The 26-year-old has started 25 games over the past two seasons, including starting and finishing all 17 contests in 2019. The Eagles locked their starting left guard up last season with a three-year, $15.9 million contract, per Spotrac.
Pro Football Focus awarded Seumalo a 70.0 overall grade and named the Eagles as the best offensive line in the NFL. Here’s what they wrote about him:
Left guard has seen the biggest weakness on the Eagles line over the past several seasons, and while that was still probably the case this year, it was far from a problem. Isaac Seumalo played all but one snap over the season and finished the year with a PFF grade above 70.0 including the playoffs. He surrendered five sacks, but four of them came in two games against top-end opposition and he didn’t allow any for the final eight games he took the field.
— Shane Coleman (@ShaneColemanNFL) March 4, 2019
Jason Kelce Hypes Up Seumalo’s Excellence
While his name doesn’t often get mentioned in the same breath of his Pro Bowl linemates, Seumalo has been an absolute stud upfront. Seumalo has never been selected to the Pro Bowl and was the only member of last year’s Eagles’ offensive line with less than three Pro Bowl appearances. Maybe he needs a better public relations firm.
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) May 14, 2020
Well, he may have just found one in the form of Eagles center Jason Kelce. The fan-favorite went on record with how much he loves and respects Seumalo.
“Isaac’s a phenomenal player,” Kelce told reporters last week on a video conference call. “He’s been definitely way better than people have any clue. I’ve been really happy to watch him go out and prove to all of you guys and everybody else who doesn’t get the opportunity to see how good he is on a daily basis that he’s one of the premier guards in this league.”
The remarks carry even more weight coming from Kelce since Seumalo had been rumored to slide over to center as his possible replacement at one point. He took a few snaps there during training camp in 2019. That theory appears to be out the window after the Eagles drafted Jack Driscoll and picked up rookie free agent Luke Juriga.
Seumalo’s Long Journey to Starting Role
There was a time not too long ago where Seumalo was being labeled a bust. The former third-round pick out of Oregon State had lost his starting job to Stefen Wisniewski in 2017. He was benched after the first three games of the Super Bowl season.
Then, Seumalo won the job back in Week 4 and — minus a three-game absence due to injury — hasn’t looked back. He’s been a vital cog on the Eagles’ offensive line, a guy who excels in both run blocking and in pass protection. Philadelphia rewarded him with a three-year contract extension in 2019.
“You want to be perfect. That’s the goal,” Seumalo told the team’s official website last year. “Game-by-game, though, I think I played better and better. For sure, my best football is still to come. I’m excited to be in Philly and keep working and improving.”
Okay Isaac Seumalo, I see you gettin' Payne up outta there on 4th & 1 – pic.twitter.com/CGNaWqVksf
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 13, 2019