History suggests Philadelphia Eagles should address O-line at six

Penei Sewell (Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
Penei Sewell (Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) /

To draft or not to draft, that is the question. At least that’s what every Philadelphia Eagles fan will be asking themselves over the course of the next two months.

Like so many things in the NFL, uncertainty surrounds the Birds, especially when it comes to the subject of who Philly might take with the sixth-overall selection in this year’s draft. As far as mock drafts go, the popular picks as of late seem to be Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or Kyle Pitts. There has even been recent chatter surrounding the rumors that Philly might take a quarterback. It’s highly possible that Jalen Hurts might have some competition when camp begins.

While it’s easy to explain why these picks have their reasoning, there’s one position on Philly’s roster that continues to be ignored. Ironically enough, it’s one that’s also on the offensive side of the ball.

There are red flags surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line.

On top of surrendering a league-high 65 sacks in 2020, the Eagles’ offensive line has had some major durability issues. Since 2018,  Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, and Brandon Brooks have all spent at least one year on the injured reserved list. Don’t forget about the fact that Lane Johnson missed 13 games during that same time period as well.

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The most durable of Philly’s trench warriors has been Jason Kelce, but his future in Philadelphia is anything but certain. If he does return, that would give the Eagles three starters over the age of 31 once we arrive at Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season. Thankfully for Philly fans, there’s a solution.

The Philadelphia Eagles should follow in the footsteps of these teams.

NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has two offensive tackles ranked in his top 10 overall players: Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater. If either of these linemen falls to number six during the selection meeting, Philadelphia should highly consider picking one of them. At least that’s what recent history says.

Here’s a list of the last ten offensive tackles taken within the first six picks.

  • 2010 4th Overall Pick: Trent Williams (8 Pro Bowls, 2015 2nd Team All-Pro)
  • 2010 6th Overall Pick: Russell Okung (2 Pro Bowls)
  • 2012 4th Overall Pick: Matt Khalil (1 Pro Bowl)
  • 2013 1st Overall Pick: Eric Fisher (2 Pro Bowls)
  • 2013 2nd Overall Pick: Luke Joeckel
  • 2013 4th Overall Pick: Lane Johnson (3 Pro Bowls, 2017 1st Team All-Pro)
  • 2014 2nd Overall Pick: Greg Robinson
  • 2014 6th Overall Pick: Jake Matthews (1 Pro Bowl)
  • 2016 6th Overall Pick: Ronnie Stanley (1 Pro Bowl, 2019 1st Team All-Pro)
  • 2020 4th Overall Pick: Andrew Thomas

With the exception of Joeckel and Robinson, that’s quite a successful track record. Now, while the selection of a tackle might mean Jordan Mailata might have to move to the guard position or Philly might need to find something to do with Andre Dillard, none of it matters at this specific moment.

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If Philly believes Sewell or Slater are blue-chip players, they have to pull the trigger and figure out the other problem areas on the roster later. You also might want to consider this. Given his love for building in the trenches, the opportunity to add a player of Sewell or Slater’s talent might be an opportunity that is too great for Howie Roseman to ignore.