Michael Bamiro spent a large portion of Monday’s OTA holding a rectangular orange blocking pad. As one of 16 offensive linemen competing for about half as many spots, it acted as his entry pass so he too could jump into drills and prove to offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland he’s more than just a practice player.
“I’m really just doing whatever I can to get myself on that field,” Bamiro said.
Other than soaking up wisdom from Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce, Bamiro admits one determining factor in whether he'll make the leap to the 53-man roster is an improved work ethic. After having difficulty adjusting to the NFL last season, his professional career got off to a slow start.
"I should’ve put a lot more effort into it than I did [last year]," Bamiro said. "It was real tough because I had to learn a lot on the fly and it didn’t come as easy to me as I thought it would. That’s all on me."
One modification in Year 2 is that he's changing positions, from tackle to guard. At 6-8 (340 pounds), Bamiro would've been tied for the tallest guard in the NFL last season.
You rarely see players his size inside because most play too high, Kelce pointed out. But the Eagles' center thinks that won't be a problem for Bamiro and that Bamiro's long arms (that measure at more than three feet) will prevent interior lineman from getting into his body.
"Mike, his body and his ability to bend, he really fits the guard position," Kelce said. "He has made strides across the board in all facets of his game. A full year in the weight room, he’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s one of the strongest guys on the offensive line right now which will really help him out.”
Bamiro spent last year on the practice squad, taking some reps at guard, but primarily lining up at tackle. Now that he's a full-time guard, he'll be able to dedicate all of his time to learning the nuances of just one spot.
"Playing there all regular season last year helped a ton," Bamiro said. "It helped a lot because the speed inside at guard is a whole lot faster. Everything moves so much quicker because the ball is always going to be around you.”
After giving Bamiro a three-year deal worth nearly $1.5 million and $250,000 in guaranteed money last year, the Eagles hope he can take the step from project to contributor.
"I’m really excited to see how far he continues to progress through the summer and where he’s at once we start training camp," Kelce said.