5 Eagles who have to stop getting injured

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5 Eagles who have to stop getting injured originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

One of Buddy Ryan’s favorite quotes was, “Durability is as important as ability.” And probably every NFL coach has said something similar since then.

You can have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t stay on the field, it doesn’t matter.

Which brings us to the 2022 Eagles.

Obviously, it’s important for everybody to stay healthy, and the Eagles made huge strides last year in terms of injuries. But there are a handful of Eagles who are at crossroads in their careers and probably won’t be here much longer if they keep getting hurt.

There’s definitely an element of luck involved, but there’s a reason some players rarely get hurt — Jason Kelce hasn’t missed a game in eight years, Fletcher Cox has missed four games in 10 seasons, Javon Hargrave has missed two games in six years — and others are finding their way to IR every year.

Those are the guys we’re focusing on today.

Jack Driscoll

Driscoll has shown in his two NFL seasons that he’s a versatile and capable offensive lineman, able to play at a high level at either tackle or guard. He started four games at right tackle as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2020, and eight games at right guard and one more at right tackle last year.

But Driscoll has finished both his NFL seasons on IR, and in both cases he was a starter when he got hurt. He missed two games as a rookie with an ankle injury suffered against the Ravens and then landed on IR with a season-ending knee injury from the Saints game. And then last year he spent the first three weeks of the season on IR with a pectoral strain and the last five weeks with an ankle injury he suffered against the Giants.

That’s four significant injuries, three trips to IR and 14 missed games in just two seasons.

Driscoll has a chance to be a part of this elite offensive line for a long time, and his versatility really makes him valuable. But the injuries are definitely a concern.

Davion Taylor

Like Driscoll, Taylor has finished his first two seasons on IR. And like Driscoll, Taylor had earned a starting spot and was playing well last year when his season ended.

As a rookie third-round pick in 2020, Taylor played mainly on special teams, and it was there that he suffered a season-ending knee injury during a game against the Packers.

Last year, Taylor had an early setback when he missed a a good chunk of training camp and a couple early-season games with a calf injury. He came back and got a chance to start when the Eagles released Eric Wilson, and he showed a lot of promise in six starts before a knee injury against the Saints ended his second season.

The Eagles have since added Nakobe Dean and Kyzir White, making the linebacker room more competitive. Taylor showed a lot of promise last year, but he needs to stay healthy in Year 3 to get a chance to build on it.

Miles Sanders

Sanders is the ultimate guy who has to stay healthy, and his financial future depends on it. Sanders is clearly a talented kid — his 5.1 career average is highest in Eagles history by a running back and eighth-highest in NFL history by a RB. He’s one of only six players in NFL history who’s started his career with three straight seasons of 750 rushing yards and at least a 4.6 average.

But then there’s the injuries.

A hamstring strain in 2020 training camp that cost him the opener. A knee sprain against the Ravens that forced him to miss two games. A knee sprain that kept him out of one game, and another knee injury in the playoff loss to the Seahawks. Then last year an ankle injury against the Raiders that sidelined him for three games and hampered him in several others, and then a broken hand that cost him two more games and limited him in the playoffs.

Sanders has missed eight games over the last two years and been less than 100 percent in several others. He’s due to become a free agent after this season, and no matter how talented a ball carrier he is, if he doesn’t demonstrate an ability to stay healthy, he’s not going to get paid like a top NFL back — by the Eagles or anybody else.

Isaac Seumalo

Like Sanders, Seumalo goes into a contract year coming off two injury-plagued seasons. Seumalo has proven to be a solid interior linemen when he’s played, but he’s been limited to just 12 games the last two years.

In 2020, Seumalo missed seven games after hurting his knee in Week 2 against the Rams and last year he missed 15 games after suffering the dreaded Lisfranc foot injury in a Week 3 game against the Cowboys.

After Landon Dickerson established himself as an elite left guard in Seumalo’s absence, the Eagles moved Seumalo to right guard this offseason, so he’ll get another shot to start. But with no contract beyond this year, he’s got to prove he can stay healthy as well as play at a high level at a new position.

Tyree Jackson

The Eagles showed how much they believe in Jackson by keeping him on the 53-man roster at final cuts last September even though they knew he was out until mid-season with a broken bone in his back, suffered during a training camp practice. Had they put him on IR before final cuts, he wouldn’t have been able to play all year.

He did play in the final nine games, but in the meaningless regular-season finale against the Cowboys, after catching a touchdown pass in the first quarter, he tore his ACL and then spent the offseason rehabbing. It’s not known yet when he’ll be able to practice, but he didn’t participate in OTAs and watched from the sideline with a brace on his knee.

Jackson is a fun experiment. He was a college quarterback at Buffalo, and at 6-7, 245 pounds he’s an intriguing tight end prospect. But he turns 25 this fall, and the Eagles have blocking specialist Jack Stoll and sure-handed rookie Grant Calcaterra backing up Dallas Goedert. The Eagles need to see something out of Jackson soon, and the only way that can happen is if he gets healthy and stays healthy.