Eagles Reunite With 2012 Draft Pick, Former Starter: Report

Nick Sirianni

Getty The Eagles are bringing back a familiar face in offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.

The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing back a familiar face.

As reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on July 19, offensive lineman Dennis Kelly is signing a deal to return to the Eagles. The 33-year-old is a former 2012 fifth-round draft selection of Philadelphia.

“Veteran OL Dennis Kelly is signing with the #Eagles, per source,” writes Pelissero. “Kelly has 54 career starts, including 15 in his first stint with Philadelphia from 2012-2015.”

Why Eagles Are Bringing Back Dennis Kelly

As EJ Smith of The Philadelphia Inquirer notes, Kelly will provide valuable depth at the tackle position for the Eagles. Philadelphia was lacking a swing tackle after former first-round pick Andre Dillard left for a deal with the Tennessee Titans.

“Kelly will help bolster the Eagles’ tackle depth, which took a hit when backup left tackle Andre Dillard signed with the Titans in free agency earlier this offseason,” writes Smith. “The Eagles drafted Alabama offensive line prospect Tyler Steen, who played left tackle for the Crimson Tide last year, but Steen projects as more of a guard in the NFL because of his frame.”

The 6-foot-8, 321-pound veteran spent his first four seasons with the Eagles, appearing in 30 games to go along with 15 starts. The majority of Kelly’s starts came during his rookie season in 2012 when he started the last 10 games — three at right guard and seven at right tackle.

After not appearing in any games during the 2013 season, Kelly started all three of his appearances during the 2014 season before starting two games during the 2015 campaign.

Since departing Philadelphia, Kelly spent five seasons with the Titans and one-season stints each with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts. Since leaving the Eagles, Kelly has started 39 more games, including all 16 games at right tackle with the Titans during the 2020 season.

His best season since entering the NFL was during the 2021 season, according to Pro Football Focus. In 10 games and four starts, Kelly posted a 70.4 offensive grade and 75.2 pass-blocking grade while protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who won the MVP award that season.

Among tackles with at least 300 snaps, Kelly ranked 41st in offensive grade and 27th in pass-blocking grade.

As noted by Smith, Kelly didn’t allow a single sack last season with the Colts.

“Kelly, 33, did not allow a sack in his 16 games at tackle last year with the Indianapolis Colts, according to Pro Football Focus,” writes Smith. “A fifth-round Eagles draft pick in 2012, Kelly did give up 14 pressures and nine hurries.”

Dennis Kelly Projects as Top Backup Tackle For Eagles

During his time as a starter and part-time starter, Kelly has blocked for some of the best running backs in the league, including former Eagles back LeSean McCoy, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones and Jonathan Taylor.

He’ll have the opportunity to potentially block for one of the top rushing teams in the NFL, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny.

With Kelly back in the fold, he’s likely the next man up at tackle if either left tackle Jordan Mailata or right tackle Lane Johnson suffers an injury.

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