Eagles’ Jack Driscoll Learning ‘Tricks of the Trade’ from Former Falcons Guard

Kynan Forney

Getty Former Falcons guard Kynan Forney has been training Eagles rookie Jack Driscoll.

Eagles rookie Jack Driscoll might be coming into an abbreviated training camp with the most experience out of all the young guys in the offensive line group.

One week in, he’s learned a lot of “tricks of the trade” already. Driscoll, a fourth-round pick out of Auburn, is the son of John Driscoll who was drafted in the 12th round by the Bills in 1989. He’s been picking his brain since he first learned how to tackle, particularly on the mental side of the game.

The younger Driscoll made 45 consecutive starts at right tackle in college (10th among FBS offensive linemen) after transferring from UMass. He said it’s all about taking it one day at a time, sage advice he learned from his dear old dad.

“My dad is someone who is really influential in helping me get to this point,” Driscoll said. “One thing he stressed to me was to take it by day by day. You’re playing with the best players in the world now, so if you have a bad play and whatnot, put it behind you and just keep going. It’s a grind but you know I love football and it’s such an honor to just be here.”

But Driscoll’s crib notes for how to play professional football didn’t end there. No, the 6-foot-5, 312-pounder took a spring jaunt down to Atlanta to train with former Falcons guard Kynan Forney, a nine-year veteran who started for Atlanta in 2004 when the Eagles beat them in the NFC Championship Game to reach the Super Bowl.

It’s a small world after all, huh? Forney retired in 2010 but not before playing in 98 games (89 starts). Driscoll praised the one-time Pro Bowl alternate (2005) for drilling him on position work.

“He [Forney] showed me some stuff that helped him in the NFL and helped him have a great career and he passed that along,” Driscoll said. “We really worked out and made sure I was ready both mentally and physically and stayed in shape with lifting and running, and really made sure I knew my plays because once camp starts it’s going to start full speed and once the older guys get here, you don’t want to be screwing up. No mental errors.”

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Familiar Auburn Face in Eagles’ Locker Room

Another advantage Driscoll has over his fellow rookies is the fact that one of his college teammates will be lining up right next to him in training camp. He played together with Prince Tega Wanogho for two years at Auburn, with Driscoll starting at right tackle and Wanogho manning left tackle. Seeing his smiling face in the Eagles’ rookie meeting room has helped relieve some of the NFL pressure.

“It’s been a crazy offseason so just having somebody you know and you’ve played football with is great,” Driscoll said. “If I ever have a question or he has a question, we can call each other up quick and talk about it. Prince is one of my good friends … when I first got to Auburn Prince was someone I spent a lot of time with and learned the offense with him being the other tackle.”

Now the two college buddies are essentially competing against each other for a roster spot, although it’s a friendly competition and one neither guy would be mad at the other one for winning. Besides, with right guard Brandon Brooks lost for the year, there is a real need for extra offensive linemen in Philadelphia. And that’s never a bad thing, even if they did miss out on the rookie minicamps and OTAs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coach Stout has done a good job over these first few days and we all know what we’re doing,” Driscoll said referring to Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. “Every rookie is in the same situation, so it’s not an excuse. He has us ready to go but it’s always different when you go live.”

Driscoll has been playing mostly at right tackle during the early days of camp. The Eagles like their players to be versatile and often cross-train them in multiple positions. There have been whispers that the team may want to convert him to center as a possible replacement for Jason Kelce in case he retires in 2021.

“I’m just doing all I can to learn as much as I can and be able to play multiple positions but I’m playing a lot of tackle right now, on the right side,” Driscoll said. “I played right tackle all four years in college predominantly, like I said, my goal is to play as many positions as possible and help the team win games.”

Making Sacrifices, Just Saying No to Friends

It’s been a weird offseason as Driscoll alluded to above, thanks to the novel coronavirus and extra safety protocols. Rookies started reporting to the NovaCare Complex on July 21 and were subject to temperature checks, daily virus testing and constant screening. The Eagles have done a phenomenal job of making the players feel safe, according to Driscoll.

“They have done everything to a tee, done an unbelievable job of making us feel safe,” Driscoll said. “There hasn’t been one time where I’ve felt at risk for getting the disease or anything like that. Leading into it, I’ve been very cautious.”

One thing Driscoll has done is to limit contact with friends and avoid large gatherings. The 23-year-old — only one year removed from being a college kid — has declined invitations to hang out with friends to keep himself safe.

“I’ve had friends wanting to see me, inviting me to places, and that’s one of the sacrifices you make, you say no,” Driscoll said. “One of the things I did was go workout and that was it. I just sacrificed it. I understand that these weeks before the veterans get here are going to be crucial to learning the plays. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity and get behind the eight-ball to start my career.”

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