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Nick Sirianni won't commit to Cam Jurgens as Eagles' opening-day starting center

Nick Sirianni won't commit to Cam Jurgens as Eagles' opening-day starting center originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Maybe this is just Nick Sirianni being Nick Sirianni and not wanting to give anything away in the name of his beloved “competitive advantage.”

Or maybe it’s more than that.

Sirianni on Tuesday declined to name Cam Jurgens as the Eagles’ starting center in 2024 and replacement for Jason Kelce, the future Hall of Famer who announced his retirement last month.

“I don't have to make that decision anywhere near for a long, long time,” Sirianni said at the coaches’ breakfast at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday in Orlando. 

“And so we'll see. We've got a lot of time. We’ve got walk-throughs to go through, we’ve got training camp, we’ve got OTAs, as far as what that looks like.

"Cam's gotten a ton of reps. If it is Cam, he's got a ton of reps doing that, too. Jason didn't take every snap at center last year in practice, so I'm really confident that he can do it.

“But we'll see what happens.”

It’s interesting that Sirianni is reluctant to name Jurgens as the Eagles’ starting center in 2024 because the day the Eagles drafted him in the second round two years ago, Howie Roseman didn’t hesitate to anoint him as Kelce’s successor.

"For the Philadelphia Eagles, for us, having elite play at the center position, it's important,” he said on April 29, 2022.

“We felt like this guy, he was different than the centers who have come out the last couple of years. We think he has a chance to be really, really good. Getting to learn from the best ever, we thought was a way for him to be even better."

Jurgens played very little as a rookie – 37 snaps at center, two at guard – before starting 11 games last year at right guard and missing five with a pectoral injury. He played 707 snaps at right guard and six at center – four late in the regular-season blowout loss to the Giants and two at the end of the blowout playoff loss in Tampa, after Kelce called it a day.

Since draft day, it’s been assumed Jurgens would swing to center once Kelce retired, but the Eagles do have some options.

Free agent acquisition Matt Hennessy started 19 games at center in 2021 and 2022 – two as a rookie in 2021 and all 17 a year later – after the Falcons drafted him in the third round out of Temple in 2021. He’s an option.

And Landon Dickerson is an option. Sirianni was very complimentary of Dickerson’s 33 snaps at center during the second half of the Giants loss, after Kelce left the game. He’s a two-time Pro Bowl left guard and the Eagles may not want to move him and break up that elite left side of the o-line with Jordan Mailata and Dickerson, but you can make the case that center is more important than left guard so it’s in the conversation.

In the Dickerson scenario, Hennessy has played left guard – 232 snaps over three years in Atlanta – and made three starts at left guard in 2022.

With Sua Opeta now in Tampa and Jack Driscoll in Miami, Tyler Steen – a 3rd-round pick last year – could move into a more prominent role. If either Jurgens or Dickerson moves inside, Hennessy and Steen would be the top candidates to replace them.

“He's versatile and I think he can do a lot of different things,” Sirianni said of Steen. “Obviously, you know how I feel and everybody feels about coach Stout (Jeff Stoutland). He's going to get the best out of these guys and Tyler's going to benefit from that coaching.

“(We’re) excited about his development. … He’s a great option and we'll see what happens.”

And there’s a draft coming up, and the Eagles have selected 16 offensive linemen in Howie Roseman’s 13 drafts, including three in the first round, two in the second and two in the third.

The only drafts Roseman hasn’t taken an offensive lineman are 2010, 2014 and 2017.

“I'm really excited about that group that we have,” Sirianni said. “We've had great offensive line play over the past three years that I've been here. Obviously, we're losing one of the best players in not only Eagle history, but NFL history. One of the best centers of all time. So obviously, there's going to be things that we've got to work to replace with that.

“But what's great is these guys have been around Jason for three, four, five, six, seven years. And so we'll see who that is at center, we'll see who that is at right guard, but I know we’ve got a lot of good pieces.”