Eagles’ Jason Kelce raves about Cam Jurgens entering Year 2

Why Kelce is so confident in Jurgens entering Year 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles 2022 second-round pick Cam Jurgens barely played on offense during his rookie season.

Jason Kelce has no doubt that Jurgens would have been just fine if he did.

“Cam is really, really talented,” Kelce said on Wednesday about his eventual replacement from Nebraska. “Extremely physically gifted, hard-working. The strength-to-weight ratio that he has is phenomenal. Very, very strong for his size. Extremely explosive, smart, blue-collar, lunch-pail-type kid. …

“I think I speak for everybody in the building, he was ready to play last year. He could have gone in there and done an extremely good job playing center last year. I feel very confident in that.”

The reason Jurgens didn’t get much time on offense last season (just 35 snaps) was because Kelce stayed healthy, starting all 17 regular season game and the Eagles’ three games in the playoffs. It basically became a redshirt year for Jurgens.

But just because Kelce decided to put off retirement and return for a 13th season in 2023, it doesn’t mean Jurgens will get another redshirt season. Because right guard Isaac Seumalo left in free agency, creating an important vacancy on one of the NFL’s best offenses.

Jurgens will have to fight for that job — especially against third-round pick Tyler Steen — but he has a very good chance to win it.

“He’s going to get a chance to compete at right guard and he’s going to get a chance to play center still,” Kelce said. “The future is extremely bright for him. I think he can blossom into one of the best centers in the league, easily, one day. And I think he can play right guard. So we’re going to get a chance to watch that.”

While the Eagles are still early in their offseason program — OTAs don’t even begin for another couple weeks — Kelce has already seen some improvement from Jurgens as a guard.

The initial plan last season was for Jurgens to cross-train at guard during his rookie training camp but that was pushed back when Kelce needed minor elbow surgery in the summer. Jurgens then got all the first-team reps at center, which was good for him but prolonged his cross-training. During last season, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland worked Jurgens at guard more and more.

And now in Year 2, there’s a very good chance Jurgens could be starting at right guard between Kelce and Lane Johnson.

“So far, (Jurgens) looks great,” Kelce said. “Only in shorts and stuff like that. But sets and everything, you can tell he’s been working. Last year, he played a little bit of guard, scout team and 1-on-1s and stuff. But obviously as he’s gotten more reps, he’s gotten used to a new stance and using your hands just a little bit different. You can see he’s put in some work this offseason.”

The Eagles drafted Steen early in the third round out of Alabama this year but you’d have to think that Jurgens has a leg up just because of experience. But that training camp battle should be one of the most exciting on a team that again has Super Bowl aspirations.

And because Kelce is 35, he’ll probably get several veteran days off in training camp, setting up a way for Jurgens to get reps at both guard and center this summer.

Kelce has always spoken highly about his former teammate Seumalo, who signed with the Steelers this offseason. Kelce said he thought Pittsburgh got a steal — the pun wasn’t lost on him either — in free agency.

“He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever been around, one of the most consistent people I’ve ever been around,” Kelce said. “So we’re not going to replace Isaac. There’s going to be someone new in there and they’re going to have their attributes that there’re going to excel with. Looking forward to seeing who does a really, really good job with that.”

There’s a good chance that will be Jurgens. And then maybe the rest of us will get to see what Kelce sees in him.

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