(9) Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Allen Barbre, Andrew Gardner, Matt Tobin, David Molk, Dennis Kelly
(1) Suspended: Lane Johnson
Do the Eagles need nine offensive linemen? Probably not, and they’re even less likely to keep 10 once Johnson is eligible to return from a four-game suspension. That being said, it’s difficult to say who they should part with.
The two reserves whose spots are all but assured are Tobin and Molk. Based on metrics site Pro Football Focus’ grading system (subscription required), Tobin rates tops among all offensive guards this preseason, while Molk is second among the centers.
The Eagles have been developing Tobin since last year when he was an undrafted rookie out of Iowa. After signing a futures contract with the Birds in January, Molk has that all-important backup center spot nailed down after the club agreed to an injury settlement with Julian Vandervelde, per Zach Berman for Philly.com.
Either Gardner or Kelly could get the boot as a result of the numbers game, yet both have been solid in preseason action. At least one of the two is likely to remain until Johnson returns, though, otherwise the unit gets awfully thin in a hurry in the event of an injury.
Perhaps the first month of the season could serve as an extended tryout between Gardner and Kelly. Again, all of these players have looked strong this summer, so what’s the hurry to let competent players reach the open market?
From left to right, Peters, Mathis, Kelce and Herremans return as starters, while Barbre—signed to a contract extension in June—takes over for Johnson at right tackle for at least four games.
Chip Kelly left the door open for Barbre to keep the job even longer during his opening camp address to the media, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com, but last year’s fourth overall pick should be able make his way back into the starting lineup eventually.