Jordan Mailata: Rising Star

The development of Jordan Mailata might be the most significant news for the Eagles this season. Every month he rises to a new tier. Starting out the season as just an average player, to now playing at an elite level. He has been DOMINANT in the last 4 games against some very good defenses. How did this happen? Well it’s simple really. His processing is getting faster, he’s no longer hesitating in his decision making. He is playing confident and aggressive football, and is starting to look like the 350 pound BEAST that we thought he could be.

Pass Blocking

By far the biggest improvement he’s made over the course of the season is his pass protection. As I noted in some of my previous Mailata breakdowns, he lacked coordination between his hands, feet and eyes. This created an imbalance when engaging with opposing pass rushers. His feet would be stuck in cement, he would catch instead of punch, making it easier to toss him aside. Thankfully for Mailata, his 6’8, 350 pound frame allowed him to have success even with these technical issues. Since being benched for Jason Peters, he looks like a completely different player now. Before I felt like he was an above average OT on the rise to becoming a very good OT. He has already surpassed my goals for him. He is now looking like a top 10 OT. His kickstep is phenomenal. He’s covering tons of ground and is staying balanced on his feet unlike before. His hands are much more aggressive, both when catching and when punching. He’s picking and choosing when to punch vs when to catch at a much more efficient rate. Knocking rushers off balance consistently, and anchoring well when catching. It has been a treat to watch.

Now let’s show some examples. On this play Markus Golden is going to threaten outside and then counter inside. In the past Jordan would overset and then get off balance when trying to pivot back inside. But as you can see he does a great job covering ground to cover the edge, but then does a great job transitioning to mirroring Golden to the inside. His footwork is very smooth here. Uses his left leg to generate momentum and uses his right leg to help put him in an advantageous position. Both simultaneously. Notice how he puts his right hand into Goldens right shoulder as soon as he notices Golden turn inside. That helps slow Golden down allowing Mailata to let himself get back in front of him. This is tremendous progress from Mailata.

Mailata uses a very aggressive Kickstep here getting very wide to initiate the contact with Rashan Gary. This is a big change with Mailata who would often take a more passive approach earlier in the season allowing the edge rushers to initiate the contact rather than him. But as you can see that’s changing now. Not only is his kickstep good so are his hands and footwork. He doesn’t land a good punch with his left arm BUT because of his outstanding footwork he is able to stay in phase and get back in front of Gary and anchors down. Not only does that take good footwork, it also takes a really athletic skill set to pull that off.

Another good example of his footwork and hands. Explosive off the snap, and mirrors the Seattle edge rusher the entire way.

Patience from Mailata waiting for Preston to make his move. Preston tries to stab Mailata with his left arm but Mailata quickly knocks it down and then puts the 270 pounder on the ground taking him out of the play.

Now this is just beautiful from Mailata. His kickstep is fast and explosive covering tons of ground, getting set and balanced before the edge rusher is even ready to make a move. Golden uses a nice swipe move to dislocate Mailatas hand placement but Mailata adjusts well and is able to ride Golden past the pocket and sit him down. This happened all game long against Golden. Mailata did a great job not getting beat past the corner.

The ability to mirror Sheldon Rankins really stood out to me. Look at his feet, constantly shuffling keeping square the entire time while simultaneously using his hands to control his upper body. This shows the versatility that Mailata has. At 6’8 350 he can certainly overpower dudes, but he is much more than that.

Powerful pass block from Mailata against Preston Smith. Gets his hands cleanly into Prestons shoulders just pressing him completely out of his bull rush attempt and once again taking him out of the play.

Another area where Mailata has been good at since getting here are his stunt/blitz pickups. He’s very aware and more importantly very physical when dealing with stunts. In this play he notices early on what is happening. So he jams Golden as hard as he possibly can into Isaac to take him out of position, and then is able to make up ground to get the stunting DT. He is able to get away with being so aggressive because of his length. No DT outside of Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox is going to outrun the reach of the 6’8 Mailata.

His powerful punch displaces Gary and completely disrupts the timing of this stunt. Then picks up 91. Fantastic rep from Mailata.

Another good example of blitz pickup. Delivers Golden right to Isaac’s lap, and then uses his reach to pick up the blitzing LB to give Hurts a clean Hail Mary attempt.

The effort from Mailata in general is fantastic. we often talk about Carson Wentz having the Superman mentality of trying to make every play, but Jordan Mailata also has that gene in him. On this play there are 2 rushers on the edge. Mailata is supposed to pick up the DT and Miles Sanders is supposed to pick up the LB. Mailata decides to say screw it and block both. Was this the smart decision? No. But I gotta say it’s awesome to watch him do stuff like this.

Just casually tossing a 270 pound man to the ground.

Run Blocking

Mailata’s most inconsistent area earlier in the season was the running game. He would often be too upright, and stop his feet leaving him vulnerable to being tossed aside and limiting his push. As a lead blocker he showcased his elite athleticism but failed to connect on more than half of his lead block attempts. Since then he has really improved in this area. As a power run blocker he has improved his pad level considerably, and is now generating significant leg drive leading to gigantic running lanes while creating highlight pancake blocks on a weekly basis. As a lead blocker/puller he has really become an asset to this team. He has made key blocks on screen plays, and on some designed QB runs for Jalen Hurts. His pursuit in the open field still needs some work, however it is night and day from earlier in the season. He is looking like a borderline elite run blocker.

He is an absolute MAULER in the run game. Here he just tosses Golden to the ground with 1 arm and sits on him leaving a hole for Sanders to get through.

Once again putting a man on the ground.

For a 6’8 man Mailata did a great job at getting his pad level low here. He matches his pad level with #96 and completely bulldozes him, creating a nice lane for Sanders.

Doesn’t even need a description. Mailata just outmuscles everyone.

Shows nice footwork to get in front of Zach Allen and then tosses him to the ground.

Once again bulldozes Zach Allen with ONE ARM. Mailata gets that 1 arm into his shoulder pad and just drives him into the ground.

On this pivotal 4th down play against the Saints, Mailata tosses Sheldon Rankins out of the play and onto the ground opening a huge hole for Jalen Hurts to pickup an easy first down.

Another very impressive play from Mailata. Displays proper explosiveness to get in front of #96 knocking him out of the play, and then finishes the play off by connecting with Jordan Hicks. Real solid play.

This is a very Lane Johnson esque play from Jordan Mailata. Is able to explode in front of the defensive lineman despite the opposing DL starting on the inside shoulder of Mailata. Once Mailata gets in front of him he simply stops and blocks the DL from moving forward towards the play. Just an impressive display of athleticism.

Another Lane Johnson Esque play from Mailata. He is able to dip his shoulder and get out in front of Trey Hendrickson erasing his momentum.

His ability to block in the 2nd level has also improved a ton over the course of the season. He is more confident and taking better pursuit angles which is allowing his athleticism to take over and really shine. On this failed end around, Mailata is able to get up to pick up the LB and sticks with him towards the sideline. Showing good speed and footwork.

This is just an insane play from Mailata. KJ Wright is a good 3-5 yards to the left of him and yet he is still able to get out in front of him and completely take him out of the play.

The speed Mailata displays to pick up and stick with Packers LB Christian Kirksey here is really impressive. He first shuffles to ensure he doesn’t over pursue, and then when Christian takes off Mailata explodes and mirrors him downfield making for easy yardage on the end around with Reagor.

A big time play on this WR screen. Mailata stays patient to not give away the screen and then explodes into the open field to pick up the DB with his long arms. Key block, this play does not work without Mailata.

Mailata was a heat seeking missile on this screen play. Sprinting a good 10 yards to knock the living crap out of the DB, and then staying on his feet to go pick up another block 10 yards down field.

Mailata is a pull blocker on this shotgun toss to Miles Sanders. He tosses Marcus Davenport a good 5 yards back onto his back and then picks up Marshon Lattinore taking him off the field paving the way for Miles Sanders.

He is also getting better as a lead blocker on plays that require him to pull. He pulled off a key block on this QB counter.

What’s Next?

Mailata has certainly played at an elite level the last 3-4 weeks. But in order to etch his name in stone as an elite LT he has to continue to play at this level week in week out. That will be his next step as an NFL offensive tackle. Proving that he is not a flash in the pan and that he is truly deserving of the elite title. I will be watching him closely over the next 2 games and maybe even a 3rd or 4th if the eagles are fortunate enough to make the playoffs. If he can keep this up for another 2-3 games against guys like Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Demarcus Lawrence then I’d think he would certainly make a great case for being a top 5 LT.

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