With Andre Dillard in the picture for the Philadelphia Eagles, maybe a move for Halapoulivaati Vaitai could be helpful.
There’s no question the Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, when healthy. The key word here is healthy. Last season wasn’t the easiest for some of the Eagles’ big men in the trenches. Jason Kelce was dealing with a long list of nagging injuries, while Lane Johnson’s ankle took a while to start feeling better. Jason Peters probably could’ve taken the year off due to having torn biceps, but the future legend wouldn’t take games off.
As for the guards, one side, Isaac Seumalo, and Stefen Wisniewski were playing musical chairs for the starting position. On the other hand, Brandon Brooks was the healthy and reliable player all the way up until the playoffs when he suffered the worst injury a big man could have by tearing his Achilles. Not only was the injury itself unfortunate, but so was the timing.
He was ruled out in the first half during the divisional playoff matchup, and now his recovery time could cut into the 2019 regular season, leaving the Eagles with a tough decision to make. Who is going to play right guard in the absence of Brooks? The Eagles didn’t address the need through free agency or the draft, so now it feels like they will look to one of their own to shift in and play inside. Iggles Blitz’s Tommy Lawlor recently threw around the idea of who could play there, and it seems like they do in fact, have a good candidate.
A move for ‘Big V’ seems logical
The 2019 NFL Draft came and went last week, and the Eagles selected five new rookies. While many speculated the Eagles were going to look for a defensive lineman, cornerback, or a safety, it seems as though the Eagles’ prioritized finding their long-term replacement for Jason Peters at left tackle. That’s when they made the call to trade up to pick No. 22 to take Washington State’s, Andre Dillard. While it became known right away that Dillard would be Peters’ successor, it also spelled out the end for Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s chances of taking over for Peters when he leaves.
Does that mean the Eagles are doing away with Vaitai beyond 2019? Not exactly. However, he does need to figure out a way to stand out elsewhere. Obviously, Vaitai is a suitable backup at the tackle position, but maybe this summer he gets an opportunity to move inside and try out at guard. After all, the Eagles currently don’t have a reliable candidate to fill in for Brooks.
"“I had kicked around the idea of Big V playing OG, but hadn’t really thought about it too much. With Brandon Brooks out right now, the Eagles need someone to fill his spot. Matt Pryor worked at RG last summer, but didn’t look great. Big V is an experienced player and would make some sense.” “He doesn’t have OG experience, but he’s got the skill set to succeed on the inside. He’s big and strong. He can get movement in the run game. Big V is a solid pass protector. He struggles at times on the edge, but I think he would be fine on the inside.”"
So far, the Eagles haven’t really exercised the idea of moving Vaitai inside, but then again, OTAs haven’t even begun yet. The Eagles have time to make a decision on finding Brooks’ temporary replacement, but they are running short on options. At this point, it would be far from shocking to find out Vaitai is going to get a chance to play guard over the summer. And who knows, maybe that’s where ‘Big V’ can find his true calling and could be kept around in Philly as a hybrid backup.