Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2017 is almost here. The first practice starts on July 24. The Eagles' entire training camp schedule, including information on practices open to the public, can be found by clicking here. As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles roster. We conclude today by taking a look at the offensive line.
OT: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Tobin, Dillon Gordon, Victor Salako, Taylor Hart
Peters is still going strong despite turning 35 this January. The Eagles feel so confident in their starting left tackle that they gave him a one-year extension after Peters expressed a desire for more stability in minicamp. Peters is still a very good player who can be counted on to protect Carson Wentz’s blindside. There is some concern, however, due to his age and recent history of nagging injuries.
Johnson’s 10-game suspension in 2016 was a dark cloud that lingered over the season. His absence really hurt the team; the Birds were 5-1 with him in the lineup and 2-8 without him. Johnson’s return should be a big boost to the Eagles’ protection for Wentz and Philadelphia’s run game as well. Johnson is an incredibly athletic blocker who has the potential to establish himself as one of the elite tackles in the league.
Vaitai got off a really rough start last season. But then he settled in and proved to be less of a disaster the more he played. Vaitai wasn’t a good starter by any means. The Eagles’ offense clearly suffered when he was starting compared to when Johnson was in. Big V showed enough potential, however, to at least be a serviceable swing tackle in the event of injury to one of the two starters. Perhaps he can even develop into a starter himself when Peters retires in the future.
Tobin has been on the Eagles’ roster since 2013. That might be hard for some to believe given how he’s struggled at times over the years. It seems like this summer could be Tobin’s last one in Philadelphia. Or maybe he’ll find a way to stick around yet again.
Gordon is one of the team’s more intriguing roster bubble players. He was a blocking tight end at LSU. The Eagles signed him as an undrafted free agent last year and moved him to the offensive line. He’s spent some time learning tackle and guard as well as practicing at tight end and fullback in certain packages. Philadelphia stashed Gordon on their 53-man roster last year. The team clearly likes his potential. Still, Gordon needs to have a good summer and step up into a more defined role. There’s more room for him at tackle than at guard.
Salako was signed after being a tryout player in the Eagles’ rookie minicamp. The undrafted free agent from Oklahoma State is a long shot to make the roster.
Hart was drafted as a defensive tackle in 2014 and now he’s trying to save his career by switching to offensive tackle. He didn’t show encouraging signs in spring practices this year.
OG: Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Allen Barbre, Chance Warmack, Josh Andrews, Darrell Greene, Dallas Thomas
Brooks is a really good starting guard. Pro Football Focus rated him as one of the top players at his position in 2016. Brooks dealt with some anxiety issues last year that caused him to miss a couple starts at the last minute. Moving forward, he’ll continue to be a key starter on Philadelphia’s offensive line. The combination of him and Johnson figures to be one of the better right sides in the NFL.
The Eagles have a competition going on at left guard and Seumalo is currently the favorite to win the job. The 2016 third-round pick took a bulk of first team reps at that spot during OTAs and minicamp. Seumalo played multiple positions on the offensive line in spot starts as a rookie. He showed potential in limited playing time. Now he’ll be counted on to play well over an entire season.
The incumbent Barbre is the other main competitor for the starting left guard spot. He was the one getting reps when Seumalo wasn’t in there. Barbre, 33, could be a valuable backup to have if he’s not starting. He can be the top replacement at any non-center position. It’s also possible the Eagles could cut or trade him to save $2.1 million before the season starts. A trade might make the most sense for both sides if a team gets desperate enough to make a solid offer.
Warmack enters Eagles training camp in a much different spot than he’s used to. The former No. 10 overall pick won’t likely be a starter in Philadelphia. Rather, he’s here to try to revive his career under college coach Jeff Stoutland as he tries to shed his bust label in a new home. The problem is playing time could be hard for Warmack to find in Philly. He’ll have to get used to being a backup. He’s stuck behind the likes of Seumalo, Barbre, and Wisniewski. At only 25 years old, however, he still has some long-term starting potential if he can ever get his career back on track.
Andrews surprisingly made the roster last season but predictably never played. He has the versatility to play both guard and center.
The Eagles gave Greene the most guaranteed money of any UDFA last offseason. He bounced on and off the practice squad during the season.
The Dolphins drafted Thomas with the No. 77 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He didn’t play well in Miami, though, and got cut during the season last year.
C: Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski, Tyler Orlosky, Aaron Neary
There was talk that the Eagles were planning to move on from Kelce this offseason. That doesn’t seem to be the case now. The veteran blocker projects to be the man starting in the middle of the offensive line for at least one more season. Kelce has struggled the past two years but he’s had some good moments in there as well. He’s still a starter in the NFL. Or at least that’s what the Eagles think. They also clearly value his communication with Wentz. The feeling here is Kelce might have a short leash if he struggles. Both Seumalo and Wisniewski could start at center if need be. And interestingly enough the Eagles were giving Seumalo some first team center reps during spring practices.
Wisniewski could also be included in the guard section of this post, especially since that’s where he got his playing time in relief duty last year. It was surprising to see the Eagles re-sign Wiz to a three-year contract because he made it sound like he wanted to go in free agency and be a starter (or at least make starter money). Instead, he’ll only be a backup in Philadelphia. For now.
Orlosky was the Eagles’ top-rated undrafted free agent signing. Some draft analysts believed he could be drafted as high as the third round. PFF graded him as the best college center in pass protection last year. Orlosky missed all of spring practices due to an MCL injury but he’s expected to be healthy for training camp. It could be difficult for him to make Philadelphia’s final roster due to all the depth the team has on the interior. He’ll be an interesting name to watch, though.How will it play out?
The Eagles added Neary to their practice squad after final cuts last year.
How will it play out?
Your 2017 Eagles starting offensive line:
Left tackle: Jason Peters
Left guard: Isaac Seumalo
Center: Jason Kelce
Right guard: Brandon Brooks
Right tackle: Lane Johnson
Barbre is the top backup at every spot except center, where Wiz is the top guy behind Kelce.
Overall, that’s looking like a pretty good group. Lots of proven players and lots of experience. Not only do the Eagles have good starters — there’s a lot of depth as well. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich went as far to say the Eagles feel like their backups can be starters for a lot of other teams.
I don’t know if Philadelphia’s offensive line will be the best in the league as Pro Football Focus suggested. There are still some concerns, such as Peters’ durability, the unsettled left guard spot, Kelce’s struggles, Brooks’ availability, etc. But assuming those issues don’t flare up, the Eagles should be pretty strong up front. That’s good news for Wentz and the running game.
Who could be a surprise cut?
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Barbre. I’d think the Eagles would like to trade him if they could. If not, he could be a nice versatile, veteran backup to have.
I’d say it’s more likely than not Kelce is the Eagles’ starting center in Week 1, but I’d say there’s a non-zero chance he could still get traded.
Warmack isn’t a lock to make the team after only receiving $500,000 guaranteed and struggling with the Titans.