In Jason Peters, Dillon Gordon Sees Mentor and Model for Transition to OT

Eagles left tackle and nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters sees a lot of himself in second-year player Dillon Gordon.

It's nearly impossible to avoid drawing parallels. Gordon, like Peters, played tight end in college, and Gordon, as Peters once did, is trying to make the transition to offensive lineman in the NFL. Peters is listed at 6-foot-4, 328 pounds; Gordon essentially is a carbon copy at 6-4, 322.

"It's almost like déjà vu seeing him out there going from tight end to tackle," Peters said Sunday after practice at Lincoln Financial Field. "It takes me back."

Peters isn't the only person who sees the similarities.

"Athletic guy, big guy, someone we felt could kind of get in that mold of the Jason Peters," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said.

"I'm not comparing him to Jason, but that's the path that Jason took. It's very similar to Dillon. He's learning, a young player. He's got to get better each day. Every rep that he gets is a valuable rep for him. Comes down to the focus and just detailing his work."

Gordon couldn't ask to be in a much better scenario - learning from a Hall of Fame-caliber player who shared the exact same experience early in his career.

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"It's a tough transition," Gordon said. "I have veteran leaders like Jason Peters and (Eagles right tackle) Lane Johnson taking me along the way, and they've been trying to teach me the ins and outs of playing tackle. It's really different from playing tight end."

"I just try to work with him every day to get him better," Peters said. "He's getting better every day as a tackle. It just takes time coming from catching the ball to blocking all the time."

Though Gordon played tight end at LSU, he was primarily used as an extra run blocker, catching just seven passes for 96 yards in 42 games (28 starts). Needless to say, there are still some aspects of playing tackle he feels more comfortable with than others.

"Run blocking, I'm kind of OK, but that's not my issue," Gordon said. "My issue is learning how to pass protect, and that's what they're trying to teach me, to be firm and to protect Carson.

"The biggest thing is being patient. Playing tight end, I used to like shoot my hands a lot. I feel like that's where I get myself in trouble, thinking I'm still a tight end rather than a tackle. You have to be patient and stand in front of the ends because they're quick on the ball.

"It's a lot different from playing in college to the NFL."

Gordon, who turns 24 in September, continues to receive votes of confidence from the organization.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Gordon made the 53-man roster out of training camp and stuck with the club all season, despite only appearing in one game as a rookie. The Eagles' decision to release Allen Barbre last week was another sign the front office is comfortable with Gordon's progress.

"The organization, they believe in me," Gordon said. "I'm just working hard, and I believe in my coaches. It's just a process that we're going through."

The next important test will be how Gordon fares in preseason games. Last year, he struggled, as anybody would expect. This year, he needs to show he can at least hold his own.

Assuming Gordon is on the 53 again in 2017, it won't be purely so the Eagles can stash him away. He would likely be active on a weekly basis, possibly even the next man up should something happen to Peters.

"If I ain't ready," Gordon said, "I'm gonna have to be ready."

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