If you are living under a rock, the Eagles selected offensive tackle Lane Johnson out of Oklahoma with the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft.
The Eagles needed to correct their offensive-line, which was absolutely atrocious last season, and the selection of Johnson should help do that. But with Jason Peters, who missed last season with a ruptured Achilles, returning it raises the question of who will be the starting left-tackle.
Prior to missing the entire 2012 season, Peters was an All-Pro for the Birds in 2011, so as long as he is able to come back healthy, Peters needs to start at left-tackle. That means a major shift is in the works for the Eagles offensive-line in 2013, which is a good thing based off of how the line performed just a season ago.
Peters is likely to start at left, which will shift Johnson over to right-tackle. While Johnson was an All-American at left tackle, he has experience playing right tackle, and as long as Michael Vick is the Eagles quarterback, Johnson will technically be the blindside tackle.
Todd Herremans, who has spent the last two seasons at right-tackle, will shift back to guard, likely on the right side of the line. Danny Watkins could prove to be a valuable backup to Herremans, who is coming off of a dislocated cuboid bone in his right foot.
Evan Mathis figures to be the team’s starting left-guard as he enters his third season with the Birds. It will be interesting to see if Mathis is truly a solid NFL starting guard, or whether he was just a guy who fit Howard Mudd’s system. If Mathis struggles, Todd Herremans could be shifted to left-guard and Watkins could be given a shot at the right guard slot.
Jason Kelce, who missed a majority of 2012 with a torn ACL and MCL, will round out the Eagles offensive-line and head into the season as the Eagles starting center. Kelce was a stud in his rookie year in 2011, and should return to form this year.
So all of a sudden, the Eagles have gone from having one of the worst offensive line’s in the NFL in 2012, to potentially having one of the best offensive line’s in 2013. And they will need to have an improved line in 2013, because under Chip Kelly’s system the quarterback will need time, especially if Kelly implements a lot of the read-option.