Why did Doug Pederson just compare Jordan Mailata to Nelson Agholor?

Reuben Frank
·3 min read

Why did Doug Pederson just compare Jordan Mailata to Nelson Agholor? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Nelson Agholor caught a lot of passes as an Eagle and helped this team win a Super Bowl and is having a nice season with the Raiders.

Still. This is a comparison Doug Pederson should not have made.

Pederson on Friday morning compared Jordan Mailata to Agholor and while his point was valid, the way he illustrated it wasn't ideal.

Pederson indicated that offensive tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, who have both been battling injuries, are both on target to play Sunday night against the Cowboys, and Pederson indicated that Peters will go back to his left tackle spot and not right guard.

That means Mailata is the odd man out after starting the last four games at left tackle.

"We're going to make the best decision for the football team moving forward," Pederson said. "Jordan has played well and I'll say this: I go back to Nelson Agholor a few years ago and an opportunity for him to kind of see the big picture himself. And don't take me wrong here, I love where Jordan's at, I love where his growth is. But at the same time, if Jason Peters starts at left tackle it allows Jordan to see the big picture as well and kind of step back and observe that way, and sometimes that helps young players, too."

The point Pederson was making was that it can be a positive experience for a young player to take a step back and watch and learn.

The difference is that Nelly was an established two-year starter and former 1st-round pick who was playing terrible football at that point, with just 27 catches in 10 games. 

He was benched.

Mailata is a 7th-round pick who never played a snap of meaningful organized football before September and has held his own at left tackle and is giving way to a likely Hall of Famer.

Plus, despite Nelly's occasional high points — a decent 2017 season and three 1st-down catches on the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl — he's seen in the big picture as an underachieving 1st-round failure who the Eagles gave up on before his 27th birthday.

Mailata is a diamond in the rough, a former Australian rugby player who has a chance to be a solid starter here.

Totally different sets of circumstances. 

It was November of 2016, after Agholor had a terrible game against the Seahawks, that Pederson benched him for a game against the Packers.  "I want him to (see) how the game kind of unfolds, how guys react in certain situations," Pederson said at the time. "And I wanted him to put himself in the game situations and see how he would react, see how he would play, see how he would run that route. And it's a lot easier to do that from a removed position where you can kind of see it from a big picture with calmer eyes where the pressure and stress isn't on you to perform."

Agholor earned nearly $9½ million last year and caught just 36 passes for 363 yards. 

He signed a minimum-wage deal with the Raiders and has 15-for-292 with four TDs this fall in Las Vegas.

As for Mailata, he'll be ready to go at both tackle spots. Johnson is probably a little more iffy than Peters, although Pederson seems optimistic he'll be able to play Sunday.

The bottom line is that Pederson and Jeff Stoutland would rather have an offensive line with Peters, Nate Herbig, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor and Johnson than one with Mailata, Herbig, Kelce, Peters and Johnson.

Doug probably could have explained that without an unfortunate comparison to Nelly.