Eagles 2022 season: Jordan Mailata on list of most important players

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Mailata takes his place on list of most important Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2022 season.

25. Quez Watkins
24. Gardner Minshew
23. T.J. Edwards
22. Marcus Epps
21. Landon Dickerson
20. Jake Elliott
19. Brandon Graham
18. Jordan Davis
17. Kyzir White
16. Avonte Maddox 
15. Nakobe Dean
14. Fletcher Cox
13. James Bradberry
12. Miles Sanders
11. Josh Sweat
10. DeVonta Smith
9. Dallas Goedert
8. Javon Hargrave
7. Jordan Mailata

Yes, Jordan Mailata has a great backstory. But he proved in 2021 that he’s a lot more than that.

Not only is he the Eagles’ long-term left tackle. He’s already one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL and at just 25 years old, he’s still getting better.

When the Eagles drafted the Australian rugby player in the seventh round back in 2018, he knew almost nothing about football and the Eagles knew it was going to be a long journey. He didn’t play in a single game his first two NFL seasons but in 2020 he ended up starting 10 games and played well enough to warrant a position battle against former first-round pick Andre Dillard last summer.

That was a short-lived competition. Mailata ran away with the left tackle job, signed a four-year, $64 million contract the day before the opener and went on to play at a Pro Bowl level in 2021.

Last year, Mailata started 14 games at left tackle and gave up just 3 sacks and 25 total pressures all season. He finished the year rated as the third-best overall tackle in the NFL, according to ProFootballFocus, behind just Trent Williams and Tyron Smith, who have 17 Pro Bowls among them.

Mailata finished one spot ahead of Andrew Whitworth, whose NFL career began in 2006, 12 years before Mailata had ever even attempted to play football.

It’s incredible that in a few short years Mailata went from this shot-in-the-dark project to a starter to being one of the best tackles in the NFL. And in 2022, he’ll have the incredibly important job of protecting Jalen Hurts’ blindside. That’s obviously a pretty important role for a team with serious playoff aspirations.

The cool thing about Mailata is that despite his standing and despite his contract, which pays him $16 million annually, he’s still striving to get better just like he did when he arrived in the United States back in 2018.

“To be honest, the contract has provided that sense of stability where I’m financially set,” Mailata said this spring. “But when I walk in this building, I have this attitude of, ‘I have no contract,’ and that my goal is to get better every day. That’s how I see it.

“It doesn’t matter what I placed on PFF last year if I’m not hitting the right assignments and plays. Which I know, because we watch it here with Stout (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland), and Stout would never let me forget, even plays from my rookie year. So that’s the one thing that I love walking into this building, the sense of accountability.

“It doesn’t matter how much you get paid, someone’s going to hold you accountable, and I feel like I’ve adapted this attitude where I do hold myself to that high standard that the coaches set and I’m able to be accountable and look at the film and be honest with myself.

“I can tell when it’s a bad technique and be honest, and Stout will let you know when it’s a bad technique because he won’t let you forget it for the next week.”

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