Pederson Talks Seumalo, O-Line Competition

Pederson explains why he's been thinking a lot about one Eagle who hasn't practiced much.

Isaac Seumalo. (USA Today Sports)

Isaac Seumalo. (USA Today Sports)

Doug Pederson was asked about which rookies stood out to him with OTAs and mandatory minicamp in the rearview mirror, but it didn’t take long for his mind to instead wander to one player who wasn’t at either. Because of the graduation rule, which does not allow a player to participate in team activities until their school’s academic year is complete, third-round pick Isaac Seumalo could only attend the Eagles’ rookie camp and nothing else.

“I wish Isaac could have been here the entire spring,” Pederson said. “I think more about him probably than I do the guys that are here.”

When the Oregon State product arrives in Philadelphia for training camp next month, Pederson said they’re going to put him at left guard. Although Allen Barbre has been named the starter, it wouldn’t be surprising if someone else beats him out.

Asked if Seumalo is the “primary guy” competing with Barbre, Pederson said there were “several guys,” before singling out Stefen Wisniewski. The Eagles’ head coach described how Seumalo’s situation has affected his development.

“The biggest thing is just missing the reps and physically being out there on the field,” Pederson said. “It’s one thing to do it in the classroom; it’s another thing to take it to the field and execute the same thing when bodies are flying around. So that part’s valuable and obviously, he’s missed that.”

Even if Seumalo doesn’t earn the starting nod, he could play some snaps if one of the Eagles’ offensive tackles misses any time. Pederson noted that Barbre can play guard or tackle, so it’s possible Barbre could move out to tackle in case of an injury, leading a backup guard to substitute in.

Regardless, one thing that has helped Seumalo with the transition into the NFL has been technology.

“One of the things that we can do in the offseason this time of year with our young players that aren’t here is we can Skype with them,” Pederson said. “So [offensive line] coach [Jeff] Stoutland has had the opportunity to Skype and spend a lot of time [with Seumalo]. Plus with the iCloud and things now, he’s able to watch some practice tape and look at some things that way and go over some of the detail stuff.”

In addition to Seumalo, undrafted free agents Byron Marshall and Aziz Shittu were not allowed to report to camp this week, which Pederson didn’t seem thrilled about.

“I was just thinking about that this morning,” he said. “I guess my feeling on it is these guys, once their college football season is over, whatever their academic status is at the time, most of them are training for the Combine and pro days, and are probably not in school at the time that they declared for the NFL Draft. And I think it’s something — it’s an ongoing discussion obviously with the NFLPA and the league.”