Philadelphia Eagles: Allen Barbre Is The New Right Guard


The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t draft an offensive lineman for the second straight year, despite the heavy interest they showed in offensive linemen during the offseason. Much like the 2014 NFL draft, the Eagles missed the run on offensive line prospects, this time twice (in the second and in the fourth round).

They ended up trading out of the fourth round, because no offensive lineman left justified for them using a fourth-round pick to select him. They got the Detroit Lions’ 2016 third-round pick in return and decided to put their trust in their current stable of linemen for the upcoming season.

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Personally, I am not sure I agree with that trade. While I like the third-rounder the Birds took from Detroit, there were offensive linemen left on board, like Terry Poole and Mark Glowinski, who could at least bring more competition. At best, one of them could end up replacing Todd Herremans as the team’s starting right guard.

But it didn’t happen. And even though the Eagles signed a number of undrafted free agent offensive linemen (see full list here), Allen Barbre is penned in as the starting right guard. It’s early to make any prediction regarding Week 1 of the 2015 regular season, but it’s hard to see any other lineman beating Barbre.

Barbre entered the NFL in 2007. This is how his spiderchart from looks:

Those numbers are eight-years old and it is probably safe to assume Allen Barbre has lost a step since then due to age, tear and wear, but still he looks by far more athletic than Brett Boyko (spidergraph) or Cole Manhart, who ran the 40-yard dash in 5.35 seconds in his Pro Day. If we factor in his experience both as an NFL player, as well as in Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia, it’s hard to think that an undrafted rookie will beat him out out of the door and win the starting job.

Last season, when Lane Johnson was unavailable for the Eagles’ first four games due to a four-game suspension, Allen Barbre was the one called up to replace him as the starting right tackle. Barbre was injured in the season premiere against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was place on the injured reserve list, missing the remainder of the season.

Even though it didn’t go as planned, Barbre was the one the coaching staff trusted to start. Undrafted rookies aside, the competition remains the same for the 30-year old lineman. The only guy missing is Herremans.

While I’m hesitant to call Allen Barbre a downgrade from Herremans, with the latter experiencing a playing level regression the last two seasons, I am worried about the impact the Eagles’ offensive line plan is going to have on the team and its 2015 campaign. Under Kelly, the Birds have been a run-first team and quarterback Sam Bradford must be kept clean of hits as much as any quarterback, if not more.

Can an aging lineman, who was a backup until 2014, be the right choice for the right guard spot?

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