I think it safe to say I was not the only one surprised by the Philadelphia Eagles decision to not select an offensive lineman in last week’s NFL Draft; especially considering that they eventually ended up with 13 picks overall.
As long as I can remember, Philadelphia has always drafted at least one offensive lineman every year with the exceptions of 2001 & 2007, but this year’s lack of a lineman selection was blatant considering how thin they appear to be at that position.
With that said, the Eagles did sign 11 undrafted rookies the Monday after the draft, three of whom were offensive linemen consisting of two tackles and one guard.
The tackles 6'6", 328 pound Jeraill McCuller from N.C.State and 6'7", 333 pound Austin Howard of Northern Iowa. The guard is 6'5", 297 pound Zipp Duncan from Kentucky.
Obviously not much is usually expected of undrafted rookie free agents, but there is always that rare occasion when a team gets lucky and actually inks a serviceable player. It is clear, however, that these three players have something to offer.
McCuller appears to be a character guy. A three-year starter for the Wolf pack who last year received the Governor Award, which is given to the team’s most valuable player based on ability, contribution, leadership, and intangibles
At 6'7", 333 pounds Austin Howard obviously has something you can’t coach, size. The big fella also appears to be very athletic for his size; in 2008 he was switched from tight end to left tackle and as a freshman he actually played some hoops for the University of Northern Iowa.
What can you say about a guy who goes by the name ZIPP? Well like Howard, Zipp Duncan started his college football career as a tight end but spent a majority of his sophomore and junior seasons at Kentucky playing guard before being moved to tackle.
Duncan was a also a high school basketball standout who led his prep team to the Kentucky High School sweet 16 where he scored 37 points and pulled down 26 rebounds in two games.
So for what it’s worth, The Eagles do have a little something to work with. Toss in these three free agents and the birds have an offensive line battery that looks a little something like this.