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Ranking the Eagles Offensive Tackles

Steve Shoup

In the coming weeks I will do a series of posts on the Philadelphia Eagles and how their players stack up at each position. These Tiers are an indication of what talent level can reasonably be expected of each player for the 2013 season. Future potential and contract status are not really taken into consideration, as this is more an indication of a players talent level and expected production.

Rankings: Quarterbacks | Running backs

Tier 1:

Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won’t face any competition for his job.

Jason Peters:

-Peters was arguably the most dominant OT in 2011, and was considered an integral piece of Philadelphia’s offensive line. After suffering two offseason Achilles tears, Peters had no shot of coming back last season, which put the Eagles offense in a tailspin. The good news for Peters is the 2nd surgery has apparently gone much better than the first, and he will have had a full year to recover, instead of rushing it like last season. At 31 he should still have a couple more really good years left in the tank, and if he even comes close to returning to form, he should be a top 10 OT. If Peters is healthy and the rest of the offensive line comes together as it should, Philly’s offense could be very dangerous this season.

Tier 2:

Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Typically just outside the elite/near elite level. Should both easily make the team and start. Will be one of the key players on the team.

Lane Johnson:

-Johnson was drafted by the Eagles 4th overall in April’s draft and is scheduled to be the Eagles starting right tackle this year, and left tackle of the future. He’s an interesting story of a player who started as a quarterback in junior college and tight end with the Sooners before moving to the offensive line his junior year. He started 11 games at RT as a junior and 12 games at LT as a senior and quickly started rising up draft boards. He showed tremendous potential and looked to be well ahead of where he should have been. After a strong Senior Bowl week and an amazing Combine he was in the top 10 discussion. It’s good the Eagles are starting him at RT to start, as growing pains should be expected from a player so raw. He should still hold his own this year and in the future has the potential to become elite.

Projecting the Eagles Rookie Class

Tier 3:

Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won’t consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.


Tier 4:

Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He’s a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.


Tier 5:

Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn’t really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn’t even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn’t be considered a starting option at all.

Dennis Kelly: 

-Kelly was a 5th round selection from Purdue by the Eagles in 2012. Unfortunately due to injury Kelly was forced to start the final 10 games of the season and play in over 700 snaps, well before he was ready. To make matters worse he had to play alongside multiple right guards and was protecting a rookie quarterback. It was not a good start to Kelly’s career, but there could be a little potential there. He will have a shot to earn the 3rd tackle role (though in case of injury Todd Herremans would probably get the nod), though he was not drafted by the current coaching staff.

Tier 6:

Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn’t even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.

Ed Wang:

-Wang was a 5th round pick out of Virginia  Tech, by the Buffalo Bills in 2010 out of Virginia Tech. Though he was thought to have some developmental potential, he’s yet to show much on the field. Injuries have slowed him down some, but the Eagles have given him another shot this year. If he can stay healthy he will be battling Dennis Kelly for the swing tackle spot.

Matt Kopa:

-Kopa was an undrafted college free agent out of Stanford in 2010, who originally started with the 49ers. He has since had stints with the Dolphins and Patriots, before the Eagles signed him off the Patriots practice squad late in the year. He could maybe earn the 4 OT spot (assuming they keep that many), but may come up just short.

Nic Purcell:

-Purcell is a small school community college guy, who was originally set to play for Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks, before the NCAA ruled that he had no more eligibility. He still gets a chance with Kelly after being an undrafted free agent. He’s a long shot to make the team, but could earn a practice squad spot with a strong camp.


Nate Menkin:

-Menkin was a small school college free agent out of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2012. He originally signed with the Texans, but was picked up by the Eagles after final cuts in September. Menkin never played an offensive snap for Philly and went on injured reserve late in the year with a throat injury. He’ll battle once again for a back-up spot, but with a new coaching staff his chances could be limited.

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