Eagles Exit Draft Without O-Line Help

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Dagger. Dagger in the heart. 

Those were the words of Howie Roseman when, moments after the 2014 NFL Draft concluded, a reporter brought up the fact that the Eagles came away with no offensive linemen.

“I firmly believe in building on the line of scrimmage.  That’s kind of how I was raised in the National Football League,” the general manager said. “I thought we’d have some opportunities to get some o‑linemen, but there was a run in the third round that was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was like ‑‑ I don’t know, if someone gave me the numbers, it was like player after player after player, and it was like ‑‑ all of a sudden we looked back up and our board was depleted, and we weren’t going to reach.  That hurt because we went in thinking that we’d get some guys.”




Since Roseman joined the organization in 2000, the Eagles (led primarily by Andy Reid over that time) have drafted 22 offensive linemen. This is just the fourth time over the course of those 15 drafts that they didn't walk away with at least one in a given year. Chip Kelly values linemen arguably as much as his predecessor and was undoubtedly hoping to bolster the position over the weekend, but it just didn't pan out that way.

The Eagles appear to be in good shape short-term when it comes to the starting five. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and  Lane Johnson make for a strong group. The primary issues are age and depth.

Three of the five projected starters (Peters, Mathis, Herremans) are over 30. Replacements will have to be identified before long. It's hard to know whether there are any strong candidates currently on the roster given the reserves' overall lack of game experience on this level.

Name
Position
Age
Games started
 
Todd Herremans*G31116
Jason Peters*T32113
Evan Mathis*G3269
Jason Kelce*C2634
Lane Johnson*T2416
Dennis KellyT2410
Allen BarbreT297
Andrew GardnerT280
Matt TobinT230
Michael BamiroT230
Josh Andrews G220
Kevin GrafT220
Julian VanderveldeC260
David MolkC250
Donald HawkinsGN/A0
Karim BartonG220

* denotes projected starter

Of the 11 reserves, only two -- Dennis Kelly and Allen Barbre -- have started games in the NFL. (Barbre's seven starts came back in 2009 with the Packers; Kelly started 10 games for the Eagles in 2012.) A couple of the other backups (David Molk, Julian Vandervelde) have played some snaps but it's a pretty green group overall. Still, Chip Kelly says he feels good about what he has.

"Matt Tobin really came along last year, was an undrafted free agent that really showed up for us.  Really excited about his future.  Allen Barbre is a guy that when you watch the games when he went in when Jason Peters went down in the Green Bay game, really did an outstanding job at left tackle, which is probably the most difficult position to play.

"We really like the way Julian Vandervelde developed at center.  He's done a really, really good job for us.  We've added David Molk, who's played in this league at center and he's doing a really good job also and competing there.  Dennis Kelly is healthy now and he's competing there.  It's year two with Mike Bamiro, who we signed last year who was kind of a ‑‑ I don't like the word project but a young guy that's a big ‑‑ I mean, big, big, big son of a gun that all of a sudden now he's got a year under the system and he's really made a lot of progress himself.  We feel good about ‑‑ we're going to bring in probably three to four free agents here to compete with those guys, but it was just one of those deals.  There was some guys we liked, and there was a run on them, and all of a sudden we liked this guy and then he's gone, he's gone, he's gone. "

The Eagles picked up undrafted free-agent linemen Josh Andrews (6-2, 311, Oregon State), Karim Barton (6-2, 313, Morgan State), Kevin Graf (6-6, 309, USC) and Donald Hawkins (6-4, 301,Texas) on Saturday and could very well add to the mix as we get closer to training camp.

They were hoping to add a prospect or two via the draft, but will have to make do -- no matter how much it hurts.

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  • Mugzy Payton

    Damn, if they didn’t have to draft 2 WRs. . .

    • Richard Colton

      really wasn’t anyone there that made sense. Bitonio didn’t fall to them in the 3rd. Martin wasn’t there at #22. Looking at who was available when they drafted, Su’a Filo would have made sense at #26. Other than that, just wasn’t in the cards.

      • NickS1

        What about Yankey instead of safety? Thought he went in the 5th after us, or was that in the 4th?

        • Richard Colton

          a few of us were talking about Yankey on day three. inexplicable drop. makes me think he really wasn’t on their radar.

        • Tom W

          Yankey is garbage. The pick to reconsider was huff. Could’ve taken trai turner from lsu but Howie is right 8 ol went in third before we picked. We liked USC center/guard a lot and probably gabe Jackson.

  • B-West

    Does anyone else feel like there is more transparency about the draft this year? Both going in to the draft and post draft, especially about aspects of the draft that didn’t break their way.

    • stamtown

      Especially compared to AR days…

      Really enjoying the debriefing from 24/7 and Eagles FO, came away at least understanding the logic on every single pick – could we ever say that before??

      • B-West

        I also think that Chip might not be all that impressed by the draft process. He probably understands the statistics on draft picks better than most, and he knows that despite his best efforts, he’s bound to miss on guys. It is what is, he does his homework, makes a pick when they’re on the clock, and then goes on about his business.

        • Kev_H

          What I like though is that he is going for guys who will show up, do their best, and earn their paycheck. Same thing with Chip. It’s fun to root for.

    • Adam G

      Which is interesting considering they give out zero information during the year.

      • B-West

        Agreed. My impression from last season was that Chip would say more, joke around a little more, but actually say about the same amount as most coaches (little to nothing).

        I’m curious to see if its a trend moving forward. If it’s specific to this draft, part of me worries that they might be trying to explain away a draft that didn’t go well for them. I’m not looking to bash them, but by their own admission it seems that a lot of the breaks in the draft went against them.

        • Will

          Of all the player’s the Eagles targeted I wonder how many were the Eagles first choice? Like Smith was at least #7 on there board by the admission the 6 we wanted were gone…I think maybe Jordan Matthews, Huff and maybe Hart the rest I wonder about…

          • B-West

            Yeah, no doubt they got caught between tiers in round 1… Watching players come off the board in a fantasy snake draft can be agonizing, I can’t imagine what it’s like in an NFL draft room. A few days removed, I feel like they got caught in some tough spots, but came away with a pretty good haul.

          • anon

            All of the “named” talent was def at the top of rounds 1 and 2. Problem with the perception of a deep wr class is that everyone wanted to wait to till rounds 2/3/4

    • MediaMike

      I think they had to in order to avoid more questions about the underhanded manner in which they shed DeSean off of the roster. Being VERY open about the draft feeds the informational needs of fans and helps them avoid D-Jax questions……………. for now.

  • distantfires

    Dear S & T: would really enjoy and appreciate a similar article regarding the running back position. I believe that the team has stockpiled some players in this position too. Many thanks, BJL.

  • Uncle Wonder

    Yeap…that was a major disappointment.

  • PaoliBulldog

    I was hoping for LSU’s Trai Turner, who got taken at 92 by the Panthers. But I like both of the WRs that got drafted; after cutting DJax, the Eagles had a pretty bare cupboard.

    We need to cross our fingers and hope for an injury-free year up front. If the Eagles get one more season out of Herremans, I’ll be delighted.

    • dnabrice

      Herremans should have a bounce back year…got better as the year went on.

      • anon

        I’d prefer to rotate him w/ a backup, gotta start seeing guys live and in color.

        • Javi Echie

          You don’t rotate an established starting o-lineman.

          • anon

            How else do you know if your depth is any good? Plus herremans is ready for a change.

  • mtn_green

    OL has not been ignored. Used 4th overall last year on a tackle. Imagine if they’d had a 4th overall this year OL would have been an afterthought.
    The depth this year is better than 2012, same as 2013 really.

  • Will

    There are a lot UDFA O-Linemen sure they address the O-Line that way….I do wonder who the Eagles targeted for O-Line help in the draft…Herremans needs to hold up in pass protection at least one more year…

  • Dominik

    What happened to Roseman? Why is he so honest?

    After they didn’t draft O-Line I felt: great, they have to feel pretty good about their young guys there. Now Howie tells everybody he wanted to draft one, but couldn’t.

    What Chip says goes into the right direction, but they wanted to pick and that means that they aren’t too happy.

    For the long run, that’s correct. For this season, there would have to be two injured starters to concern me. Barbre is a great and versatile back-up, still underrated by some, I think. And we could re-sign him after the season, he’s not THAT old (and not a lot of milage).

    We need to grow our young back-ups and probably have to address the position early (1-3 round) next year, but for this year, we have 6 good players for 5 spots. That’s not great, but pretty good, I guess.

  • JosephR2225

    We have come a long way from the days of throat clears and “better jobs”.

  • Will

    Chip Kelly is a great coach but still new to the draft so all in all I give him a lot of room to improve in the years to come…

    • anon

      I think it’s a function of us picking at 22. I think you’ll like this draft a lot b/c we won’t have to make excuses for guys not knowing the system, or being smart enough to get the system, or not being work-a-holics. We might get dominated by better players, but hopefully we’ll always play smart football.

  • Joe L

    No one has picked up this boards favorite problem child Lyerla yet huh? *shocked face*

    • Andy124

      The line of thinking was that if we do sign him, Kelly is vouching for him. That’s he’s a good kid who’s made mistakes but can turn it around. We aren’t signing him. Reasonable to conclude Kelly doesn’t have confidence in the kid’s character.

      • anon

        How could he?

        • Andy124

          I don’t know. Making something up:
          Addiction is nasty. It was theoretically possible that Chip saw enough of the kid to think that he was a really good kid getting his butt whooped by addiction, but that he was getting straightened out.

          But that doesn’t appear to be the case. I don’t want to draw any specific conclusions about what Chip thinks based off so little information, but it doesn’t look so good.

          • anon

            Yeah i think i read something where Chip was empathetic when Colt first got there — but i think after the re-lapse last year, leaving the team, and then the coke bust in the offseason there’s just no way.

            Think Chip will take less talented kids with a better head on their shoulders. Huff was also from a tough background but he doesn’t have any of those problems.

          • Andy124

            Yup.

          • jesse

            Addiction is a hell of a monkey, I wish him the best.

    • Tom W

      Huh didn’t you read what kiper found out his nickname was. Kid would disappear all the time for days and go out coke binders. That chip didn’t get him or draft him is all I need to hear. Uber red flags

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    Has our roster gotten that good that we are concerned about who the 8th O-lineman will be on game days IF a starter gets hurt? If so, congrats on Chip and Howie – we have come a long way in two years. 3 pro-bowl level starters, two above average starts, three very solid and versatile back-ups, and then a bevy of developmental projects. Does any team have it better on the O-line than we do?

    If you don’t feel optimistic about this team’s playoff chances heading into 2014, then you are simply a negadelphian.

    Last summer I was the only one to predict both a Riley Cooper breakout year, a Nick Foles pro bowl season, and a playoff berth (seriously, I did). This year, I can confidently predict a 12-4 season with Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, and Ertz all surpassing 800 yards receiving, and Celek and Huff coming up bit with respectable showing as well, Foles 4,500 yards, 36 touchdowns, 8 INTs, a 1st round bye, and an NFC Championship game appearance. From there, anything can happen!

    • B-West

      If those predictions from last year are true, just one thing to say… Stay hot brotha!

    • Amar

      We play the NFC West, Carolina, GB and 6 games against the NFC East (talented but unpredictable). More than 10 wins will shock me.

      • Tom W

        Huh. We play niners between Seahawks games and cards is just hit Palmer. Carolina will suck this yr w no tackle or wrs. Forgot AFc south sucks and NFC east sucks. Schedule broke our way w no one off byes and no long road trips. 10 is easy 12 possible

        • Amar

          You know I won’t argue with a positive prediction for gang green :)

    • Burberry Manning

      Wisdom I love your optimism among a negative and scarred fan base.. I only predicted Foles would be the starter and that’s because I saw his work with the starters preseason first year and his work with the depleted offensive line etc during the season. Plus I knew Vick wasn’t taking us anywhere so we desperately needed a answer at Qb …

    • Kev_H

      How do you know you were the only one?

    • Bakar Bey

      I love the confidence, and would love to see a 12-4 Eagles team. I’m inclined to wonder who the losses would be to? The team has the NFC East ( 6-0 Sweep?) NFC West (2-2?) AFC South (3-1?) Panthers (W?) & Packers (L?) That’s how I might predict a 12-4 season at this point, with Seattle, 49ers, Colts & Packers being winners. I think Philly has the talent to compete with those top teams now, depending on how the defense progresses. The team only saw one NFC West defense last year (AZ) and needed a little luck to hold on to that win. Still, as long as the Eagles win the division & make the post-season, that’ll be all that matters.

  • MediaMike

    With such glaring holes on this roster at OLB, WR, CB, ILB, and S; getting a good O-lineman was a longshot. They did an excellent job filling need with quality players, so I can’t criticize them for not getting O-line…………… this year. To imagine Smith, Matthews, Huff, and Watkins all starting in 2015 with Cole, Maclin, and Cary all being gone (coupled with our huge cap savings) is a great thing.

  • Ank

    Please they had the opportunity to get David Yankey late…talkin bout a run on OL in the 3rd he went in the 5th n he is versitile…just what they wanted

    • 76mustang

      Yankey doesn’t read as a good fit (one man’s opinion):

      http://miketanier.sportsonearthblog.com/ultimate-guard-showdown-xsf-versus-yankey/

      • Ank

        We would not be looking for an immediate starter in yankey by any means, but for depth (in case of injury) he is a good fit and also who better to learn from then Mathis. Just my opinion tho.

        • Tom W

          Chip knows Stanford coaches. If we wanted Yankey we would’ve got him.

    • Joe L

      I don’t really see Yankey’s versatilty, considering he’s played only one guard spot and has the athleticism of a 4 x 4.

  • Scott J

    We still have Graham for trade bait.

    • TongueWagger

      A fifth round pick next year at best. More likely other teams will just wait for him to be cut.

  • Greg Richards

    They’re bringing in veteran G/T Daryn Colledge in for a visit per Adam Caplan.

  • jmkrav

    Dennis Kelly is the same age as Lane, and you have to kinda count Bamiro as a rookie. Also think Molk is young and strong and as good as anyone we could’ve drafted in the 5-7th round.

  • Hanibal Luis

    Well, if the backup OLs don’t workout, you know what they’ll be drafting next year. Most likely OT and OG will be targets next year to be groomed anyway, unless Bamiro really impresses.

    • Tom W

      They love Tobin And bamiro. One should hit.

  • jesse

    Lot of talk about Barbre but he is nearly 30 himself

    • Tom W

      Little tread like Mathis and got atleast 5 yrs