Jordan Mailata
Can Jordan Mailata permanently unseat Andre Dillard at Left Tackle? Mailata played damn well in his starting debut for the Eagles. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The Philadelphia Eagles offensive line is in TROUBLE… or is it? The Eagles have suffered a cluster of injuries up front, including Jason Peters, Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, and Lane Johnson. This past Sunday night against the 49ers, Doug Pederson was forced to start former Rugby star Jordan Mailata. Things somehow went better than expected.

Philadelphia picked Mailata in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Mailata never played a game of football in his life before being drafted. He was just an Australian Rugby player. The chances of it working out were slim to none, which was an optimistic point of view. However, it’s hard to ignore his performance against the 49ers in Week 4.

The Eagles are back in first place, and Mailata deserves some credit. Look, it’s just one start, but this guy belongs. In 38 pass-blocking snaps, Mialata allowed only one pressure. Sure, Nick Bosa is out for the year, but it was a hell of a start for a guy that never played football before.

The former Rugby star will likely have another three weeks to prove himself until Peters returns from injury. This begs an important question; what happens if Mailata continues to play well? Where does that leave Andre Dillard?

Philadelphia picked Dillard in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. It was an up and mostly down rookie season for the former Washington State product. More so than anything, Dillard just needed to get stronger because he was already a polished pass blocker.

The funny thing is, Mailata doesn’t have any issues in the power department. Mailata checks in at 6-8 and 350lbs and towers over the 6-3, 315lbs Dillard. The Eagles have quite a dilemma. One guy isn’t as physically imposing but very polished. The other guy is imposing but doesn’t quite know what he’s doing yet.

If Mailata continues to develop and improve, there is no place for Dillard. In the past, Dillard has repeatedly stated he doesn’t like playing RT. It doesn’t matter because Lane Johnson is locked into that spot for the foreseeable future. Dillard is also not built to play guard. We’re now at a fork in the road.

There’s always going to be teams that need offensive line help. Especially left tackles that protect a quarterback’s blindside. Dillard has immense potential but could find his way on the trade block by a team that has offensive line deficiencies. Go figure!

Jordan Mailata is going to be a player to watch for the rest of the season. It could have huge implications on someone like Andre Dillard. Could Mailata unseat Dillard?