The Philadelphia Eagles have certain needs that most would agree upon. The secondary being the foremost concern heading into both free agency and the draft. However, it was reported today that the Philadelphia Eagles released ten year veteran Todd Herremans. Herremans has been a staple at both right tackle and right guard. With two veterans over the age of 33 on the offensive line, head coach Chip Kelly must address this situation in a big way.
Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency Options
While the NFL draft will feature plenty of help to potentially replace Jeremy Maclin, free agency presents the best chance for the Philadelphia Eagles to bolster the depth along the offensive line.
One of the most interesting names that could hit free agency is San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati. The former 1st round pick is absolutely stellar in the run game and could provide a versatile pull blocker for Chip Kelly’s running attack. His ability to block into the second level makes him a fascinating target. While Iupati has not graded out to be a productive pass blocker, he overall body of work shows he could be on the Eagles radar.
The only other free agent guard that graded higher with Pro Football Focus in 2014 is Orlando Franklin of the Denver Broncos. Franklin’s versatility as both a guard and a tackle makes him a highly sought free agent, but likely one that the Eagles will not be able to afford once the pandemonium that is free agency begins. Both Franklin and Iupati are in their late 20’s and should be able to produce for at least the next three years.
Unfortunately, if you know where each of these players are located along the offensive line, you’ll be ringing an internal alarm. Both players play on the left side of the line, which is already populated by left guard Evan Mathis and left tackle Jason Peters. What this means is that the chances of the Philadelphia Eagles signing either of these players is about as likely as me winning the Powerball.
Philadelphia Eagles Draft Options
If the Eagles are going to address the offensive line, it’s likely going to happen with low-key signings in free agency or via the draft. I think the lack of depth along the line could be addressed with the Eagles’ first pick. I believe the Eagles are going to trade up to get their guy (not that guy), and it could very well be offensive tackle La’el Collins out of LSU. Collins stated at the combine that he mirrors his game after (former SEC tackle and current Philadelphia Eagle) Jason Peters.
Another option in the first round could be Brandon Scherff from Iowa. Both Scherff and Collins both could serve as quality run blockers as well as provide versatility along the line. Should the Eagles target elsewhere with the first round pick (Landon Collins perhaps?), they could look to either Jake Fisher from Oregon or Tre Jackson from Florida State. Certainly Fisher will be a highly talked about prospect due to his alma mater, but his recent work at the NFL Combine demonstrated his superb athletic abilities.
Whichever path the Philadelphia Eagles choose to go, one thing has become abundantly clear: The offensive line must be addressed this offseason. And with the pressing needs already existing defensively, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia front office have a lot of work to do before the Eagles can be considered legitimate contenders in the NFC.
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