2012 NFL Draft: The Philadelphia Eagles Must Pick an Offensive Tackle Early

Giorgos KassakosAnalyst IMarch 29, 2012

The offensive line has been improving, but its depth is a concern.
The offensive line has been improving, but its depth is a concern.Rob Carr/Getty Images

No, it’s not your eyes playing games. The title indeed says offensive—and not defensive tackle. Before you call me crazy, let me tell you this: The Eagles have no depth regarding offensive tackle.

D. J. Jones is on the roster, but he’s an undrafted rookie that spent his first professional year as a member of the practice squads of the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.

The Eagles might have one of the best duos of the league, with Jason Peters and Todd Herremans playing at the flanks of their offensive line, but they have no one that can replace them. If one of them gets hurt, then things will get really ugly for Philadelphia.

The Eagles had Winston Justice and King Dunlap as backups in 2011. Justice was traded a couple of weeks ago to the Indianapolis Colts and Dunlap can sign with any team that offers him a contract, as he is a free agent.

Free agency can provide the Eagles with backup offensive tackles, since Demetrius Bell, Marcus McNeill and Max Starks are available. However, all three of them had injury problems in their careers (knee issues for Bell and McNeill and a torn ACL for Starks).

Additionally, Peters is 30-years-old and Herremans is 29. The Eagles might feel safe for the present, but what about the future? Who’s coming next?

Right now, there’s no obvious answer, but there's a more-than-obvious need to add a quality tackle in the NFL draft.

Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin are players with great abilities, but they can be picked before the Eagles get to make their first pick. Moreover, the Eagles don’t need a top prospect, but someone with potential and who’s able to develop his skills with time and replace one of the two starting tackles, if this need comes up.

The 2012 season might be critical for the Eagles, but the franchise won’t cease to exist even if it gets only one win.

If the Eagles want to be competitive tomorrow, they must plan and execute today. That’s why I expect Philadelphia to pick an offensive tackle between the second and the fourth round of the draft—I’ll be surprised if that doesn’t happen.

Zebrie Sanders, Bobby Massie or James Brown are all projected to be picked in these rounds and one of them could end up on the Eagles roster.