The Eagles' offensive line took a big hit with the recent release of Evan Mathis. The loss of Mathis follows the release of former starting guard Todd Herremans earlier this offseason. Philadelphia has willingly jettisoned two starters this offseason despite not having drafted an offensive lineman since the 2013 NFL Draft.
So what do the Eagles have left? Here's an updated look at Philadelphia's offensive line depth.
Left Tackle - Jason Peters
Left Guard - Allen Barbre
Center - Jason Kelce
Right Guard - ???
Right Tackle - Lane Johnson
Four of the five offensive line positions are nearly locked in. Peters, Kelce, and Johnson are guaranteed to start. Barbre is probably almost at that level. The team is really high on him. It's odd because Barbre has never started more than seven games in a season and he'll be 31 at the end of June. Still, the team wouldn't be so comfortable to part with Mathis and Herremans if they didn't genuinely have some level of confidence in him. Whether their confidence will be rewarded remains to be seen. Barbre looked adequate filling in for Peters during the Packers game in 2013, but that was a very small sample size.
Pushing to Start
There doesn't appear to be a clear starter at right guard right now, so it's fair to say that position is up for grabs. There are three main contenders: Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, and Dennis Kelly. These players have been rotating in with the first team during Philadelphia's OTA practices.
Tobin entered the 2014 season coming off a bad ankle injury. He never looked full healthy and he struggled before being benched later on in the season. Tobin, 25, is still young and could prove to be a starter. He has shown some promise, but he needs to be more consistent. The read here is that the Eagles would like Tobin to step up and earn the right guard job instead of just handing it to him.
Gardner, 29, struggled playing tackle early in the season but looked a little more adequate at guard down the stretch after taking over for Tobin. Gardner probably isn't an ideal starter but he could ideally be the next Barbre, meaning he's the first offensive lineman off the bench at any non-center position.
This is a make or break summer for Kelly. The 25-year-old has the fact that he's an Andy Reid guy going against him. The Eagles don't seem to be super high on Kelly because they've kept him inactive on game day unless otherwise necessary. The pressure is on for him to earn his roster spot.
Let's break this down by position. Some players fall into multiple categories because the Eagles value versatility.
Molk was Philadelphia's primary backup center last year. He struggled early when taking over for Jason Kelce but he seemed to get a little better each week. His performance against the Giants was encouraging. The downfall with Molk is that he lacks ideal size/experience to contribute at the guard position.
Batmandervelde has bounced on and off the Eagles' roster since he was originally drafted in 2011. He dealt with some injury issues last summer and he's already been missing some spring practices. Vandervelde is a converted guard playing center.
Coccia is an undrafted free agent who can play at guard and center.
The Eagles used Andrews at center a little bit last summer. They also kept him on the practice squad all season so they like him a little bit.
Undrafted free agent who lacks ideal athleticism but has good size. The Eagles gave him a significant signing bonus so he's a name to keep an eye on.
Along with Boyko, the Eagles also gave Manhart some extra money. The undrafted free agent played Division II football so it remains to be seen how he adjusts to the NFL.
Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has some familiarity with the former Miami player.
He hasn't officially been signed by the Eagles yet, but reports indicate he will. Like Bunche, Stoutland is familiar with Wheeler from college.
The Eagles are somewhat high on Graf. He spent most of the 2014 season on the practice squad. He was even called up to the main roster in an emergency situation but wasn't activated on game day. Graf might be getting some looks at guard.
Here's how I'd project the Eagles offensive line depth chart heading into the 2015 season. This is bound to change as the summer progresses.
Starters: LT Jason Peters, LG Allen Barbre, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Tobin, RT Lane Johnson
Backups: G/T Andrew Gardner, G/T Dennis Kelly, G/C Josh Andrews, C David Molk
Practice Squad: OG Brett Boyko, G/T Kevin Graf
How are you feeling about that group?