At tackle, the Eagles have Jason Peters, still one of the best linemen in the league even at 33 years old.
By Barbara Harrison
Lots of Eagles fans and media blowhards who hate the fact that Shady McCoy is gone predict that DeMarco Murray, whom the Birds signed as a free agent from the Dallas Cowboys, will not replicate his 2014 NFL rushing crown performance because the Eagles offensive line isn’t as sturdy as the Cowboys O-line was last year.
That is a bunch of baloney.
And Mark Eckel of NJ.com agrees with me:
Yes, Dallas has a very good offensive line, no question about that. But so do the Eagles.
Is there some age creeping up on the line, a little bit. Does the team need to add some depth, sure they do. Would they have been better served the past two drafts adding some linemen, instead of say quarterback Matt Barkley (2013, 4th round), or defensive back Jaylen Watkins (2014, 4th round), safety Ed Reynolds (2014, 5th round) and defensive end Taylor Hart (2014, 5th round), yes.
Still when it comes to ranking the biggest needs on the Eagles, as they head to the draft room, offensive line ranks behind safety, cornerback, wide receiver, and maybe even linebacker and quarterback in terms of importance.
Now, that’s not to say if one of the top linemen fall to No. 20, the Eagles should pass — always take the best player — same thing in the second round. It’s just not as much of a need as some think it is.
At tackle, the Eagles have Jason Peters, still one of the best linemen in the league even at 33 years old; and Lane Johnson, a very solid right tackle beginning his third year. Where does Johnson rank among right tackles? He’s not one of the best yet, but he’s certainly in the top 10.
At center there’s Jason Kelce, who is certainly in the top five at his position.
At guard Evan Mathis, whose trade rumors have quieted, isn’t the top guard in the league as some suggest, but he’s very good. The fifth man is Alan Barbre, who will replace Todd Herremans. None of us have seen enough of Barbre to have a valid opinion, but the Eagles really like him. It’s why they signed him to a long-term deal a year ago and why they let Herremans go this offseason. Maybe Barbre, 30, is the new Mathis, a guy who bounced around the league before finding his place in his 30s.
That’s a solid starting five by any measure. And the team hasn’t given up on young backup Matt Tobin yet, either.
The Eagles shouldn’t ignore the line in this month’s draft, both of their fifth round picks would be well spent on young linemen. It’s just not one of their bigger needs.