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Roob's Top 10: Ranking the best offensive linemen in Eagles history


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Roob's Top 10: Ranking the best offensive linemen in Eagles history

By Reuben Frank, Eagles Insider  Published July 13, 2023

For long stretches of their existence, the Eagles had terrible offensive lines.

The 1986 Eagles allowed 104 sacks, a figure nobody has come close to over the last 35 seasons. For the first decade sacks were an official stat – 1982 through 1991 – the Eagles allowed 56 more sacks than any other team. From 1969 through 2000 – a span of 32 seasons – only two Eagles offensive linemen made a Pro Bowl.

But when they have had good linemen, they’ve had truly elite linemen. And half our top-10 has played for the Eagles just in the last 15 years.

We do have a few old-timers on our list of the top 10 offensive linemen in Eagles history, but four of the 10 are recent enough to have played for Jeff Stoutland – two currently. Which speaks volumes about Stout.

10. Jon Runyan: The Eagles signed Runyan from the Titans after the 1999 season, and he immediately added toughness, spirit and grit to a team that was on the brink of big-time success. Runyan helped the Eagles get over that hump and wound up starting 161 of a possible 161 games from 2000 through 2008, including the postseason. Runyan played to the whistle and then some, and his borderline style of play is probably why he only made one Pro Bowl. But he was a fixture at right tackle on some terrific teams, reaching the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons in Philly and the NFC Championship Game more often (five times) than not (three times) along with one Super Bowl. Including 48 starts from 1997 through 1999 with the Titans, Runyan started 192 consecutive games from 1997 through 2008 – the longest streak ever by a right tackle.

9. Jerry Sisemore: "Size,” the third pick in the 1973 draft (behind John Matuszak and Bert Jones), spent his entire 12-year career with the Eagles, starting 155 games at right tackle – 4th-most among Eagles offensive linemen. Along with left tackle Stan Walters, Sisemore gave the Eagles bookend tackles from 1975 through 1983, much like Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan would two decades later. Sisemore made Pro Bowls in 1979 and 1981, and his 155 career starts are 4th-most in Eagles history among players who never spent any time with another team, behind Jason Kelce (176), Fletcher Cox (167) and Chuck Bednarik (166). Sisemore and Walters were both enshrined in the Eagles Hall of Fame back in 1991.

8. Stan Walters: Walters began his career with the Bengals – he was a 9th-round pick in 1972 and was on the equivalent of the practice squad when his rookie year began. He became a starter in Cincinnati, but the Bengals traded him to the Eagles after the 1974 season (in exchange for John Reaves and a 2nd-round pick), and he wound up starting every game that Dick Vermeil coached at left tackle. In all, he started 122 consecutive games through late in the 1983 season. Walters made Pro Bowls in 1978 and 1979, becoming the only Eagles left tackle to make a Pro Bowl between Buck Lansford in 1956 and Tra Thomas in 2001. He was a key starter on the 1980 Super Bowl team, retired after the 1983 season and was the Eagles’ radio color analyst alongside Merrill Reese from 1984 through 1997.

7. Brandon Brooks: Brooks deserves a spot on the top-10 even though he only played four full seasons with the Eagles – 2016 through 2019. He was that good. During that short period, he made three Pro Bowls – the first three of his career – and was a starter at right guard on the 2017 Super Bowl team. Brooks is the only guard in Eagles history to make three Pro Bowls – Evan Mathis and Shawn Andrews made two. Along with Jason Peters and Jim Ringo, Brooks is also one of only three offensive linemen in Eagles history to make three consecutive Pro Bowls. (Speaking of Andrews, if this list went 11 deep, he’d be the next guy. His career was just too short to make the top 10.)

6. Bob Brown: The Eagles’ 1st-round pick in 1964, Brown only played in Philly for five years but made three Pro Bowls and three all-pro first teams (plus two more second-team all-pro honors) before finishing his Hall of Fame career with the Rams and Raiders. Brown, who died last month at 81, was considered the top run blocker of his generation. Brown is one of only nine players in Eagles history to be named a 1st-team all-pro three times and one of only three offensive linemen (along with Jason Kelce and Al Wistert). Brown never reached the postseason during his short Eagles career and never played in a playoff victory in his 10 NFL seasons, but as far as pure ability he was one of the best. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

5. Tra Thomas: When the Eagles drafted him in the first round in 1998, Tra Thomas announced, "I’m not going to be another Eagles 1st-round bust.” Truer words have never been spoken. Thomas held it down at left tackle at an elite level from Day 1 of his rookie year in 1998 until the final day of the 2008 season. He made three Pro Bowls and probably should have made a few more, but he was as good a pass blocker as you’ll ever see and a starter on eight playoff teams, including the 2004 Super Bowl team. Thomas started 165 games in an Eagles uniform – 5th-most in franchise history and second among offensive linemen, behind Jason Kelce’s 176. Nobody in franchise history has started in more playoff wins than Thomas – Brian Dawkins and Jon Runyan also started 10. Thomas, Peters and Jordan Mailata have started 378 of the Eagles’ last 432 games at left tackle.

4. Lane Johnson: Lane Johnson is finally getting recognized as the elite right tackle he’s been for a decade now. He made 1st-team all-pro this past season for the second time but first time since 2017 and also was picked to his fourth Pro Bowl. Maybe because of his suspensions in 2014 and 2016 or the time he took away from the game in 2021 the league has been slow to realize that Johnson is the best right tackle in the NFL. Johnson’s close friends and long-time teammates Jason Peters and Jason Kelce are the only offensive linemen in Eagles history to make more Pro Bowls. Johnson is a Hall of Fame longshot but he’s signed through 2027, and if he keeps playing the way he did last year, he may have a case by the time he’s done.

3. Jason Peters: The finest left tackle of his generation, Jason Peters began his career as an undrafted rookie tight end with the Bills but went on to make nine Pro Bowl teams – including the last seven with the Eagles. Despite missing a year in his prime – he missed all of the 2012 season with an Achilles injury – he’s made the 2nd-most Pro Bowls in franchise history, behind only Chuck Bednarik’s eight. Peters continued to play at an above-average level for the Eagles through 2020 and played last year for the Cowboys as a 40-year-old. In all, he’s started 219 games – 7th-most in NFL history by an offensive tackle.

2. Al Wistert: Tough call for the No. 2 spot between Al Wistert and Jason Peters. Wistert was a four-time first-team all-pro (before the Pro Bowl existed) and Peters was a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time all-pro. Both were the best offensive tackle of their generation during their Eagles careers, Wistert for nine years from 1943 through 1951 and Peters for 12 years from 2009 through 2020. How do you separate them? For me the tiebreaker is that Peters played on some very good teams, but Wistert was a captain and starter on two NFL championship teams in 1948 and 1949. Peters only played in one playoff victory as an Eagle, and that was the double-doink game in Chicago in 2018. Wistert was finally added to the Eagles Hall of Fame along with Randall Cunningham in 2009, but he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1. Jason Kelce: Any doubt who belongs at the top of this list was removed when Jason Kelce had one of his best seasons ever in 2022 at 35 years old, making his fifth all-pro first team and leading an offensive line that helped the Eagles to a No. 3 ranking in both yards and points per game and a remarkable postseason in which the Eagles became only the sixth team in history to score 31 in each of their playoff games. Kelce joined Hall of Famers Reggie White, Chuck Bednarik, Pete Pihos and Steve Van Buren as the Eagles’ fifth five-time all-pro, and he became the eighth center in NFL history to make five all-pro teams and only the third in the last 44 years (along with Hall of Famers Dermontti Dawson and Mike Webster). He hasn’t missed a game since 2014, and he’s one of only three centers in history – along with Webster and one-time Eagle Jim Ringo – to make five all-pro teams and five Pro Bowls and win a championship. And he isn’t done yet. The GOAT.


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