How Jason Kelce helped pick his eventual replacement


Some players would be upset or hurt if their NFL team just drafted their eventual replacement.

Not Jason Kelce.

“I knew we were taking him,” Kelce said as a guest on Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Show. “This is my favorite player in the draft.”

The Eagles on Friday evening used their second-round pick, No. 51 overall, on center Cam Jurgens out of Nebraska. While Kelce is back for the 2022 season with a hefty $14 million salary, he’s 34 and his playing days are clearly winding down.

The Eagles drafted his replacement on Thursday night.

And Kelce helped to pick him.

“The Eagles have been using me to like evaluate some of the centers coming out,” Kelce said, “and of all the guys that I’ve looked at for the past two three years, of all the guys that compare the most to myself, this guy is him.

“He is so athletic, so fast, you see him out in space, he runs, he’s a natural athlete. You see the fluidity. … This guy is a freak athletically, he has the best chance to be a difference maker at the center position. I like this kid a lot. I really do.”

That’s pretty high praise for Jurgens from the four-time All-Pro and potential future Hall of Famer.

On a conference call with reporters not long after his name was called, Jurgens was informed that Kelce called him his favorite player in the draft.

“That’s awesome,” Jurgens said. “I’ve watched a lot of his tape and getting to see a guy that’s able to move like he is and play as hard with as much intensity as he has. That’s kind of how I want to play. That’s how I want to model my game and be an athlete on the field.

“Just because you’re an O-lineman doesn’t mean you can’t run downfield and knock a safety out. I want to do stuff like he does. Being able to fit into their system as well as I can. I’m stoked to be able to be in there.”

Jurgens, 22, shares plenty of similarities with Kelce and it begins with their athleticism. Jurgens is a converted tight end but has the type of mobility that Kelce has made much more commonplace among centers in the last decade. In fact, Jurgens ran a 4.92 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. That’s the fastest time for a center since Kelce ran a 4.89 in 2011. And Jurgens did it 23 pounds heavier.

Jurgens got a chance to meet Kelce during his pre-draft visit to Philadelphia and the two hit it off. While sitting in the offensive line room with OL coach Jeff Stoutland, Kelce joined. Kelce and Jurgens talked about football, the Eagles’ offensive scheme and … cows. Kelce recently got some cows and Jurgens grew up on a cattle farm. He even has a website to sell beef jerky and beef jerky apparel under his nickname “Beef Jurgy.”

But before Kelce gets put out to pasture, he’ll be tasked with bringing along his eventual replacement. The one he helped choose.

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