Should the Eagles Take an Offensive Lineman with Pick No. 20? Here are Some Options…
Considering the Philadelphia Eagles signed or traded for DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, Sam Bradford, Byron Maxwell, Miles Austin, Kiko Alonso, Tim Tebow and others this offseason, it's fair to say we should be prepared for surprises as long as Chip Kelly is calling the shots general manager.
But as much as we should approach the draft with a expect the unexpected attitude, where anything can happen, including dealing to move up to draft Marcus Mariota (yes, I said it) there is one position that is might make the most sense - offensive line.
The Eagles' offensive line struggled last season with injuries as they shuffled the guard position with Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis starting the season and Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner and Dennis Kelly all starting multiple games. Mathis missed the first seven games with a knee injury, Herremans spent the final eight games of the year on Injured Reserve while their fill-ins struggled. Center Jason Kelce also missed four games with David Molk filling in. At right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended and missed the first four games, his replacement Allen Barbre went down in the first game of the season due to injury.
The Eagles released Herremans and Mathis has been on the trade block and hasn't reported to this week's offseason workouts, meaning the team could be searching for two new guards this season.
Possibilities on the current roster include Barbre, who did a nice job has a back-up in the last time he played, back in 2013 – but coming off a season ending injury last season, can be serviceable in 2015? Julian Vandervelde barely stepped on the field last season, giving little confidence to the idea that he could be a starter this season. Tobin struggled to get healthy and was replaced by Gardner who is better suited to be a swing player.
If the Eagles go with an offensive lineman, there are two likely paths: They could pick a guard in the middle rounds and have him compete for a starting position or draft a tackle at No. 20 or trade up or down with hopes of him transitioning to guard and then sometime down the road back to tackle to replace Jason Peters.
We asked former NFL tight end and current ESPN college football color analyst Anthony Becht his thoughts on the offensive lineman in this draft as a whole.
(Listen to former NFL tight end Anthony Becht talk about the NFL Draft)
"I think it's deep," Becht said. "When you look at tackles and offensive lineman, I think it's a deep draft, in the second, third and fourth rounds. There are a lot of true value players that you can get."
A couple of names to keep an eye on would be:
At No. 20:
- Oregon OT Jake Fisher
- Stanford OT Andrus Peat
- Florida OT D.J. Humphries
- Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings
If Eagles trade up:
- Iowa OT Brandon Scherff
- LSU OT La’el Collins
- Miami OT Ereck Flowers
Second round options:
- Florida OG Tre Jackson
- Texas A & M OT Cedric Ogbuehi
- Duke OG Laken Tomlinson
- Colorado State OG Ty Sambrailo
Others to watch:
- Penn State OT Donovan Smith
- Utah OL Jeremiah Poutasi
- Hobart OG Ali Marpet
- Alabama OG Arie Kouandjio
- Oregon OG Hroniss Grasu
- Florida State OG Josue Matias