The state of the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive line is a carousel. Round and round it goes; where it stops, nobody knows.
Danny Watkins was our first-round gem. Well, at least Andy Reid thought so. Demetress Bell was brought in with a five-year contract. Now King Dunlap is back in his spot.
Both of them are in place of Pro Bowl starter Jason Peters, who tore his achilles before the season. If that wasn't a big enough hit, starting center Jason Kelce went down in Week 2 for the season as well.
Then there's Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, who have been the lone few to avoid criticism this season.
That leaves the always-approaching NFL Draft, which could provide a way to toughen this offensive line and finally get some protection moving forward. Here are a couple of top offensive lineman, and whether or not the Eagles should take a shot.
Luke Joeckel: 6' 6" 310lbs, Texas A&M
Joeckel is the highest rated offensive lineman at the moment by most evaluators. He has the size and skill and would most likely be a top 10 pick.
The problem is that when guys have elite skill, they're top-three picks. Guys like Joe Thomas, Jake Long, and Matt Kalil. What's holding Joeckel back from being considered as a top pick?
We also must remember that at right tackle, Todd Herremans is signed through 2016. Barring a position change, the fit and the value is just not here for the Eagles.
Chance Warmack: 6' 3" 320lbs, Alabama
Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson are just some of the recent first-round running backs Chance has blocked for. Even better, he's a guard.
I'm not sure what options the Eagles have with Danny Watkins. If I'm the Eagles, I give him another shot. Maybe find him a new coach to work with. I'm not quick to admit failure, but the Eagles might be.
Danny Watkins has not been all we have hoped so far. He hasn't been a complete bust, but inconsistency and injury issues have limited his value thus far. People questioned how an old fireman with limited experience could go in the first round. Reid believed in him, and maybe he shouldn't have.
Warmack can be a guy the Eagles target in the middle to late first round. With a healthy Peters and Kelce back next year, Warmack, Herremans and Mathis could be a quick and easy fix.
Barrett Jones - 6' 5" 302lbs, Alabama
I like Jones for two reasons. The first, he already has the frame of an NFL lineman. Big enough to block, but still mobile at the same time.
The second, he can play multiple positions.
The thing about the Eagles' 2013 offensive line is that assuming Peters and/or Kelce will be healthy, stay healthy, or that no one else will face an injury is unrealistic. Jones has played guard, tackle, and center through his four years at Alabama.
This allows for flexibility with the Watkin's situation, protection for setbacks to our injured tackles and guards, while at the same time developing a player for the future.
When the Eagles drafted Brandon Graham, they got in the same situation. The problem was Graham seems to be able to play neither linebacker nor defensive end at a consistently high level.
While Jones is in the same "jack of all trades" boat, he has the body and skill to settle into one position when applicable.
Taylor Lewan - 6' 8" 302lbs, Michigan
Lewan has a lot to like in his frame. A whole lot. But he also has a knack for drawing flags, and anyone who has watched the Eagles knows there is no room for a rookie getting flagged.
Discipline is something this team lacks on the field. Unfortunately, Lewan would not help this situation, at least not right away.
With a mustache tattooed on his finger (so that he can place it over his upper lip), Lewan has the type of bright and cheery personalty you love to see represent your franchise. He has something that you can't teach in his height.
However, as a possible first or high second round pick, the risk is too high for the Eagles. With arguably some of the worst secondary play in the league this year, they do have other holes that could be filled in this spot.
A healthy Peters and Mathis would allow them to pass here.
It's hard to tell where this season will take them. The second half could be the difference between 12-4 and 4-12, meaning the Eagles have no idea where they're headed in the draft.
They have a great mix of injuries and poor play on their line, making the need for an offensive lineman that much more confusing. The talent and potential is there, but the results are not.
It's also hard to project where these players will go. The talent of offensive lineman relies less on physical statistics, and more on the evaluation of individual teams.
However, the state of the Eagles makes their offensive lineman buy or sell strategy that much easier. If a player can help right away, or another player is no longer cutting it, they must pull the trigger.
At the same time, the holes they have in the secondary are gleaming, and cannot be avoided. They are running out of time and no longer have the luxury of wasting draft picks on good feelings (i.e. Danny Watkins).
It will be interesting to see where the Eagles' offensive line heads for the rest of the season. It will not only help decide the need for a lineman in the draft, but also could be the difference between a deep playoff run and no playoffs at all.
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