For the first time in his NFL career, Landon Dickerson was a full participant in Eagles practice.
The team’s second-round pick has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered In December during his final season with Alabama and seemingly has completed his comeback.
During the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, Dickerson took individual reps at right guard next to Lane Johnson, replacing Brandon Brooks as the veteran offensive lineman was sidelined with a knee injury. The Eagles also listed “rest” as a reason for Brooks not participating, suggesting he was given the day off to recover from a minor injury.
Brooks was a limited participant in every practice last week with a knee injury but played all 71 of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in their 32-6 win against the Atlanta Falcons. He returned earlier this summer from a torn left Achilles suffered in 2020, which came less than two years removed from tearing his right Achilles.
Dickerson was considered one of the most talented offensive linemen in this year’s draft class, but his injury history led to him sliding to the Eagles with the 37th overall pick. He played center during his senior year at Alabama but has experience playing both guard spots and even played tackle in college.
The Eagles haven’t committed to one specific position for Dickerson, and he has played both center and guard in practice. Without a starting spot available for him, it’s likely he’ll be the first man up if an injury occurs to Brooks, Jason Kelce, or Isaac Seumalo.
“He’s a versatile player,” Eagles VP of player personnel Andy Weidl told The Inquirer in May. “He’s shown the ability to play at a high level at guard and at center. He’s played tackle when need be. The one thing about Landon is, he’s a selfless teammate. He’ll play wherever you need him to, to help the team out and help the team win.”
Dickerson’s full return left safety Rodney McLeod as the only non-rest-related player limited in Wednesday’s practice. McLeod is rehabbing his own torn ACL suffered last December, but he is still working his way back.
The Eagles will welcome his return to the starting lineup as soon as he’s ready. Reserve safety Marcus Epps started in his place on Sunday but quickly exited with a concussion‚ leaving the team thin at safety.
McLeod, 31, has a significant upper hand in starting experience over both Epps and K’Von Wallace, who came in for Epps during the Falcons game.
“I’m right there with [McLeod] every day with his preparation in terms of staying focused on what we’re doing with the game plan,” starting safety Anthony Harris said Wednesday. “We’re competing and challenging each other in the weight room, in individuals and stuff like that. I’m right there being his biggest supporter and be ready whenever he’s ready.”
Epps started against the Falcons but suffered a concussion on the Falcons’ opening drive after colliding with Atlanta receiver Calvin Ridley. Wallace, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2020, played 89% of the team’s defensive snaps.
“I think for him to pop in short notice like that, he was dialed in and ready to go,” Harris said of Wallace. “Mentally, he was there, and then he just came in and did a good job.”
Tight end Zach Ertz missed practice with a designation similar to Brooks’. Running back Miles Sanders also had an “ankle/rest” designation but practiced on a limited basis.
Ertz is working through hamstring tightness and the team gave him the day off as a precaution. He dealt with the discomfort during Sunday’s game and could be seen stretching and jogging on the sideline, but he eventually returned during the second half.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Monday that the team handled Ertz carefully, suggesting the injury wasn’t significant.
“We were just being cautious there,” he said. “He obviously came back in and played, we’re still evaluating through with him.”
Even if Ertz and Brooks weren’t dealing with injuries, it’s likely they wouldn’t have practiced much Wednesday. The Eagles gave a handful of veterans part of practice off, listing Johnson, Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Darius Slay as limited participants in practice because of rest.
Linebacker Davion Taylor was also a full participant in practice for the first time since the preseason. The 2020 third-round pick was getting reps with the starting defense before suffering a calf injury early in training camp.