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Plugging In The Pieces: Jason Kelce

Posted Jun 5, 2011

The Eagles added three interior linemen in the 2011 NFL Draft. The last of the three comes from a school that has produced some good Eagles players in recent years.

Interview Highlights Bio

College Career: The versatile Kelce started the final 38 games of his 47-game collegiate career, excelling at two different positions along the offensive line. After making his mark at left guard during his sophomore and junior campaigns, Kelce moved to center as a senior, where he helped command a Bearcats offense that led the Big East with 27.1 points per game. After originally joining the team as a walk-on linebacker, Kelce was rewarded with second-team All-Big East honors as a senior.

Strengths: Kelce has shown that he can play multiple interior offensive line positions and that he can help run an offense, both of which are traits that helped endear him to the Eagles and especially new offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Mudd also surely coveted the athleticism of the former linebacker, as Mudd’s linemen have traditionally been asked to be more agile than typical offensive linemen.

What He’ll Need To Prove: First, Kelce will need to show he belongs physically at the next level. It’s one thing to handle the trench battles in college, but it’s quite another to be lining up against behemoth nose tackle who figure to have over an approximate 50-pound advantage on him.

How He Fits In: The Eagles made no secret of their intent to fortify the interior of the offensive line in this draft, as Kelce was the third such player taken in the team’s 11-player draft class. Moreso than Danny Watkins and Julian Vandervelde, Kelce probably profiles to the center position, where he’ll join two players with starting experience in the offense (Jamaal Jackson and Mike McGlynn). The Eagles will be hoping Kelce follows in the footsteps of two other late-round picks from Cincinnati, Trent Cole and Brent Celek.

Personal: Kelce’s extensive football lineage includes a younger brother, Travis, who was a teammate at Cincinnati as a tight end,  an uncle, Don Blalock, who played defensive tackle for Purdue in the '70s, and a grandfather, Don Blalock, who played football at Ohio University.

What He Said: “I feel like I’m in the best situation I could have gone into. Obviously the Eagles are competing for a Super Bowl immediately right now with the personnel that they have. Coach Mudd is one of, if not the best offensive line coach in the country right now. I’m just really excited to learn from him and get ready to compete for a starting spot.”

What The Eagles Said: “He brings just what you would think, a tremendous amount of toughness and quickness and want-to at (center). It will be good competition at that position there.” – Head coach Andy Reid

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