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Eagles Position Review 2014: Offensive guard lacked stability

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A position by position breakdown of the Eagles 2014 roster.

John Konstantaras/Getty Images

The 2015 NFL offseason has begun for the Philadelphia Eagles, which means Chip Kelly and his staff will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2014 roster. While the team was able to achieve 10-6 record, they fell short of making the playoff, and there are still many ways the Eagles roster could be improved upon. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 10, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2014 season. Today we'll continue this offseason review series by looking at the offensive guard position. Click here for more reviews.

The Players

EVAN MATHIS

Numbers: 608 snaps, ranked 2nd out of 78 guards, 2 penalties, 2 sacks allowed, 2 hits allowed, 5 hurries allowed

Review: Mathis suffered an MCL injury in Week 1 which caused the team to put him on the injured reserved/designated to return list. The 33-year-old veteran return in early November and played down well the stretch. Mathis is always a PFF favorite, so it's no surprise to see he graded out second overall. He would have probably been first had he not been injured.

TODD HERREMANS

Numbers: 525 snaps, ranked 57th out of 78 guards, 4 penalties, 0 sacks allowed, 4 hits allowed, 15 hurries allowed

Review: Herremans, who turned 32 in October, graded out poorly in pass protection. He finished with four penalties and two more that were either declined or off-setting. The veteran's run blocking was graded merely average as opposed to it being good in 2013.

To Herremans' defense, he had to deal with a revolving door at right tackle for the first couple weeks. Then Jason Kelce went down to his left at center. Herremans deserves credit for being tough and playing through a torn biceps injury in Week 9 which allowed the team to get by for one more week until Mathis returned in Week 10.

MATT TOBIN

Numbers: 532 snaps, ranked 52nd of out of 78 guards, 0 penalties, 1 sack allowed, 7 hits allowed, 11 hurries allowed

Review: What happened? Tobin looked so promising in the summer. In fact, he finished as PFF's highest overall graded offensive lineman in the 2014 preseason. He struggled mightily in the regular season. Pass protection was especially an issue. Tobin was benched for Gardner after Week 11.

The Eagles were high on Tobin heading into the 2014 season, even before his stellar summer performance. It's hard not to wonder if the nasty-looking high ankle injury that Tobin suffered in the preseason finale really set him back in 2014. Allen Barbre suffered a high ankle injury in Week 1 and was ruled out for the season. Tobin merely waited a few weeks to return. It seems fair to suggest he was playing at less than 100%. Tobin, still only 24, could still figure in as a future starter if he rebounds. In the meantime, he has a lot of ground to make up.

ANDREW GARDNER

Numbers: 471 snaps, ranked 34th out of 78 guards, 3 penalties, 4 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 7 hurries allowed

Review: The 28-year-old Gardner finished the season as the team's starting right guard for the final six games. Gardner also played over 200 snaps at tackle. He struggled in pass protection but provided positive contributions as a run blocker. He played about as well as you would expect for a backup journeyman guard.

DENNIS KELLY

Numbers: 203 snaps, 1 penalty, 0 sacks allowed, 1 hit allowed, 10 hurries allowed

Review: Kelly made two starts at left guard and one at right guard. According to PFF, Kelly was an average run blocker but his pass protection was lacking. He allowed one hurry for every 20 snaps played. The Eagles benched Kelly and kept him inactive all season once Matt Tobin was healthy enough to play.

DAVID MOLK

Numbers: 54 snaps

Review: Molk is strictly a center, but he was forced to play guard when both Evan Mathis and Allen Barbre went down with injuries in Week 1. He predictably struggled but it could have been worse.

WADE SMITH

Numbers: 18 snaps

Review: The veteran offensive guard signed with the team after Mathis and Barbre went down in Week 1. He played 19 snaps at guard against Washington after Jason Peters was ejected. Smith was released in mid-October once Julian Vandevelde was healthy enough to re-sign with the Eagles.

Who Could Leave

Mathis's name emerged in trade rumors last offseason. The Pro Bowl guard was reportedly in desire of a new contract. Despite this, he didn't hold out of training camp. Mathis is scheduled to earn a base salary of $5.5 million in 2015. The team will want to bring him back at that figure.

Todd Herremans could be a cap casualty. He will be due $5.2 million in 2015 and over half of that figure, $2.8 million can be saved by releasing him. Herremans is coming off a torn biceps injury but the team might best off keeping him for another year.

The team doesn't seem to be very high on Dennis Kelly. They've consistently started Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner over him when given the chance. There's no rush to get rid of Kelly, but perhaps the team will try to get a late round pick for him.

Who Could Sign

The Eagles likely won't be signing any starting offensive linemen in free agency. They could look to bring in a veteran depth option to challenge players like Andrew Gardner and Matt Tobin.

NFL Draft Options

The Eagles could definitely target a guard in the draft to develop behind the current aging starters. Top draft prospects include A.J. Cann, Laken Tomlinson, Tre' Jackson, Arie Kouandjio, and others.