The Eagles O-line took a beating last year. By the end of the season, the only recognizable name was Evan Mathis, who has been a rock at LG since joining the team in 2011.
The projected OL for 2013 looks good, maybe outstanding.
LT Jason Peters
LG Evan Mathis
OC Jason Kelce
RG Todd Herremans
RT Lane Johnson
But what happens if players get hurt?
The top backup OT is Dennis Kelly. He can play the right side for sure. We don’t yet know if he could play on the left side. Should anything happen to Jason Peters (the horror, the horror), the Eagles could slide Lane Johnson to LT and put Kelly in at RT. They could also try Kelly at LT, but that would truly be an experiment. Kelly proved he could play RT last year.
Ed Wang is currently listed as the backup LT, but I don’t think he’s got a realistic chance to make the roster. If there are a rash of injuries, that could change things. I think Wang is “just a guy” and has never been a clear LT prospect to me.
The Eagles officially signed OT Michael Bamiro today. Here are some thoughts on him. The Eagles did reportedly guarantee some money to Bamiro so that would tell you they think he’ll make the roster or the practice squad. I think he is a RT only, but will admit that I didn’t get to see him pass block enough to know this for sure.
Peters is over the age of 30 so the Eagles do need young players at OT. Johnson is expected to be a starter for years to come. He should be the LT of the future. Kelly could be the RT of the future. Bamiro could challenge Kelly or just be a backup.
Mathis and Herremans are set as the starting OGs. Danny Watkins will get a chance to show what he can do, but it isn’t likely that he’ll win the RG job. The backup OG situation is wide open. You have Nate Menkin, the young and unproven player. You have Allen Barbre, the journeyman veteran who hasn’t been able to win a job at previous stops.
“Allen Barbre is, at the very least, a starting caliber offensive guard. If we were to lose a guard to injury, I’d be totally confident with him filling in.”
That’s a nice endorsement. Barbre has limited starting experience, but let’s remember that Mathis came here under similar circumstances. And Barbre is a good athlete. He was the fastest OL in Combine history for a while. He does have some potential.
It is possible the Eagles could use Kelly or Bamiro at OG. Those guys are really tall, but Chip Kelly does like big players. Julian Vandervelde is another tweener. He is more of a natural fit at OG, but he’s been tried at Center the last couple of years.
The Center position will be just fine if Jason Kelce stays healthy. Dallas Reynolds was a mess early last year, but improved as the year went along. He had some snap issues that must be fixed, but he did show that he could be an effective NFL starter. Matt Tennant was strictly a role player in 2012. He would like to win a spot and challenge for time this year. We’ll see how that goes.
Matt Kopa, Matt Tobin and Nic Purcell are all projects. Kopa has the most experience, but might be the least athletic of the trio. Tobin played LT and LG at Iowa. Purcell is a guy we’ve talked about a few times. He’s very raw, but does have talent. He could play G or T.
I think the Eagles will keep their eyes open on the waiver wire for young OL that they could claim/sign and add as depth. That could change if guys like Menkin and Barbre look good in camp, and if Kelly builds off what he did last year.
The Eagles will keep 8 or 9 OL. The starters are set. If they keep Watkins and Kelly, that only leaves open 1 or 2 spots.
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New podcast from Dr. James Bama and myself. We discussed Bills free agent Jairus Byrd, the Eagles WR situation and a few other oddball things.
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If you want to watch some of OT Michael Bamiro…check out this vid. Just look for #69, the RT.