Film Room: Isaac Seumalo

Film Room: Isaac Seumalo

I’ll be honest, I had no idea who Isaac Seumalo was when the Eagles picked him. So watching him for this piece was the first I had ever seen of him. Considering a lot of people had never heard of him, the reaction to the pick on my timeline was actually pretty good as I think people knew how badly we needed offensive line help.

I watched the two games of Seumalo on Draft Breakdown and a couple of other YouTube clips I could find, he’s playing right guard in all the clips below. Seumalo will be competing for the left guard spot this year and if you want an in-depth look at the Eagles right guard click here to view my film piece on Brandon Brooks! How’s that for a plug?

PFF had Seumalo as one of the best pass blockers and to be honest, in the two games I watched he spent a lot more time run blocking than pass blocking in one on one situations. So I focused on his run blocking for the majority of the piece.

Anyway, let’s just get to the film. I’ll do what I normally do with my film pieces, I’ll post a few clips from games I watched and then summarize everything I saw at the end. Obviously I can’t post clips of every play, so I normally post an example of something that I see routinely.

Let’s start with the basics, his run blocking.

I love this play. He initially creates a running lane by double teaming the defensive tackle and he shows great feet to quickly change direction and take out the linebacker which creates a huge hole. This play doesn’t just show good athleticism but it shows good spatial awareness and a smart football player which can’t be underrated.

Here’s your standard nasty Guardy McBeef block. He creates a nice lane and stops the defensive tackle from making a play on the ball carrier.

Here’s another Guardy McBeef block. I like the aggressive finish here too, he isn’t mucking around.  He doesn’t always finish blocks aggressively but he does here which is good to see.

Here’s another one of those runs where he double teams the defensive tackle then gets to the linebacker to create a hole. This is pretty impressive, I really didn’t expect to see these kind of blocks so much.

He was pretty impressive when he was asked to pull and kick out too which is good to see as he’ll be asked to do this a lot by Pederson I imagine. You can tell he’s pretty athletic, which I guess he should be considering he’s not a big guy so it would be pretty worrying if he wasn’t. Seeing as he is undersized as a guard, I expect Pederson attempt will get him pulling and blocking at the second level a lot.

Here’s another example of him pulling across, I liked this play just because of how he finished. The guy was already being blocked so it wasn’t that impressive but it’s always nice to see a lineman put a defender on the ground.

As I mentioned above, considering he’s undersized you would expect him to get to the second level quickly. Although this is true, he doesn’t always finish his blocks when he actually gets to the defender. You can see that here, where he gets to the guy but it’s a sort of weak block. He needs to be more aggressive and he gets brushed aside really easily here.

It’s a similar story here, he gets to the linebacker at the second level but he can’t really do enough to block him out of the play. Admittedly this is a hard angle to make a block at but I guess he deserves some criticism for taking the angle that he does.

Here is sadly another example of him being pretty bad in space. This is on a screen pass and I’m not quite sure what he is doing here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s bad in space. I just think he can improve a lot. He’s certainly athletic and he can definitely get to the second level and locate the defender he just needs to work on finishing his blocks and using his hands quicker to prevent the linebacker from getting off his block.

His run blocking for the most part was really good, I was impressed overall. I’m being picky here because the block is good enough on this play but sometimes I’ve noticed he lunges into blocks and this is when he can struggle to sustain the block. You can see him kind of lunge here as he’s making the block, you don’t want to see your guard end up on the floor.

I was critical of his blocking at the second level earlier but that was mainly me just pointing out some flaws. For the most part, he’s good in space and can pull and kick out well. Here’s an example of him getting to the second level and preventing the linebacker from making a play. You can see that he doesn’t really provide the dominant ‘mauler’ type blocks that we love to see in big offensive lineman. If he’s still making the play though, I can live with that. At his size he’ll never be a mauler.

To finish, I’ll show a couple of clips of him in pass coverage. I won’t show many examples because just trust me, his pass blocking is really good and I don’t want the post to be any longer! He gets a good punch here and maintains his blocks, he looks very calm and controlled here. He frequently wins early in the snap which is crucial.

He gets beat here similarly to how he did earlier, he has problems when he lunges. When he lunges he doesn’t keep his feet moving and he becomes static and because he’s undersized it’s easy for the defender to toss him aside. This is also a weird play because he doesn’t need to be so aggressive, the defense are only rushing three and he could have double teamed the defender with the center. I didn’t see many faults in his pass protection overall.

I keep ending on negatives plays with my film room pieces so let’s end on a high for a change! The defensive tackle tries to bull rush him but Seumalo anchors well and uses his hands effectively. He’s got a really good base when pass blocking, he doesn’t always initiate contact and dominate his opponent like Brandon Brooks does but he’s effective at stopping the rusher getting past him which at the end of the day is his main job.

Overall

I’m pretty impressed with Seumalo and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the day one starter at left guard. I really recommend you watch the Brandon Brooks piece again because you can see the different styles of both guards. Brooks initiates contact and simply dominates his opponent on a frequent basis which is why he just got paid a ton of money.

Seumalo isn’t like that, he’s not a mauler and he isn’t particularly flash but he gets the job done. I can see why he fell to the third round though. He has had injury problems in the past and he is undersized for a guard which means some analysts saw him better suited as a center. Also, he sometimes struggles to sustain blocks and needs to use his hands better. I think he’s good enough to play guard in the NFL though and I’m assuming he’ll attempt to put on some weight when he gets here too.

I don’t think Seumalo has the ability to ever be an all-pro at guard but I think he should be a reliable starter for a number of years. He’s very technically sound, rarely gets beat and is an intelligent player. He obviously has flaws otherwise he would have been an earlier pick but his flaws are minor and I wonder if he was overlooked because he isn’t your classic ‘mauler’ type guard that everyone loves. Some may be concerned that really big defensive tackles will be able to bull rush him back into the quarterback as he’s undersized and although that’s a legitimate concern, it didn’t happen in the games I watched.

He might not be the sexiest pick in the world but Seumalo is a good player who will hopefully be protecting Wentz for years to come. If the worst comes to the worst and he really struggles at guard, he’s a versatile backup to have and he could even push Kelce for a starting job at center in a couple of years which isn’t awful for a third round pick. I don’t envision that happening though and as long as he’s healthy he should be starting at left guard as early as this year.

3 thoughts on “Film Room: Isaac Seumalo

  1. I think he’s a few pounds of functional strength away from being a potential all-star.

    Of course, we have to see how he adapts to the physicality of the NFL and if he can use angles and leverage like the spurned Evan Mathis used to.

    I expect him to be more of a greco-roman guard, using his whits to wrestle his target out of the play. I’m looking forward to following his progression and seeing him in the preseason games.

    Thank you for the yeoman’s work; I’ve been looking for a place to come and talk the techniques of football; I only hope more want to join in.

    1. He used angles and leverage pretty well most of the time but I agree, he does need to add some functional strength. Didn’t show up as a problem in college but probably will in the NFL.

      And thank you sir, I’ve been researching a lot of the techniques of football for these pieces, hopefully as I write more of them I become more educated and can educate the readers too!

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