Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman did a nice job addressing most of the team’s key needs this off season, but the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line still lacks youth and depth. Though they have arguably have the best protection in football, the average age of their starters is just over 29 years old. Even with addressing the line in the 2013 NFL Draft, by selecting tackle Lane Johnson in the first round, they still need to prepare for the future.
The Philadelphia Eagles have two All-Pro Caliber players in left tackle Jason Peters and left guard Evan Mathis. But Peters has already suffered two major Achilles injuries and is the second oldest projected starter at the position in the entire NFL. While Mathis is 32 years old and is without a contract after the 2014 season. The team already reportedly refused to extend him and allowed him to seek a trade this off season. The Philadelphia Eagles line is filled out with 31 year stalwart, right Guard Todd Herremans and center Jason Kelce (who is only 26).
Without expending any draft picks in 2014 on the line, the Philadelphia Eagles first player off the bench will be 29 year old lineman Allen Barbre. While, they also have to look at unproven fifth round picks center Julian Vandervelde (2011) and guard/tackle Dennis Kelly (2011) to fill in if injuries do plague their older veterans. The drop-off in talent and ability may be too significant for the line to remain at such a high level, if these backups do find their way into the starting lineup at any point in the upcoming season.
When healthy, the Eagles could have a dominating unit, but that is a major question with so many of their lineman on the downside of their careers. Can these aging veterans keep up with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly fast paced offense? The team had an extreme amount of luck keeping that core on the field in 2013. They certainly cannot bank on that happening again, playing in a physical division with a team that bases its offense around running the football.
This may all be a moot point eight months from now, as players like Peters, Mathis and Herremans remain happy and healthy. But if disaster does strike, the organization will be questioned on their approach in acquiring younger talent. They may be the best offensive line in the league but it certainly would not have hurt to prepare for the future this off season.