Philadelphia Eagles Draft: Interior Offensive Line Positional Rankings

Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty squares off in the mirror drill against Indiana Hoosiers offensive lineman Dan Feeney (right) during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty squares off in the mirror drill against Indiana Hoosiers offensive lineman Dan Feeney (right) during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

We at Section 215 continue our positional preview of the NFL Draft with interior offensive linemen. Which big uglies should the Philadelphia Eagles pursue?

The NFL draft is rapidly approaching and April 27th will be here in the blink of an eye. Between now & then, teams will be finalizing their draft boards: ranking players based on talent, production, potential, intangibles, scheme fit, etc. Over the coming weeks, we will be doing the same thing. Each week leading up to the draft, Ben Solak & I will rank the prospects of a certain position based on fit for the Philadelphia Eagles. We will discuss & debate the players before finalizing the order; in the same way the Philadelphia  Eagles personnel department is currently doing. By the time April rolls around, we will have scheme-specific rankings for each position, which will provide some clarity on the Philadelphia Eagles Big Board as a whole. Thus far, we have covered the following position groups:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Offensive Tackles

This week, we kick inside and talk about the interior offensive linemen: guards & centers.

Mike’s Rankings

  1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
  2. Ethan Pocic, LSU
  3. Dion Dawkins, Temple
  4. Pat Elflein, Ohio State
  5. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
  6. Dan Feeney, Indiana
  7. Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh

Ben’s Rankings

  1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
  2. Dan Feeney, Indiana
  3. Pat Elflein, Ohio State
  4. Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh
  5. Ethan Pocic, LSU
  6. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
  7. Jordan Morgan, Kutztown
  8. Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia
Philadelphia Eagles
Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp goes through workout drills during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The Discussion

BS: Lot of shake-up in these rankings, Mike. Do you want to take the consensus top prospect, or just start pounding the table for one of your guys?

MC: This is all about who is a “best-fit guy” for the Philadelphia Eagles. They made moves at the start of free agency which I found pretty interesting. I have long believed that the Eagles prioritize versatility among their offensive linemen. They showed that with the Steven Wisniewski extension. He has NFL starter experience at both guard positions and center.

The Chance Warmack signing was more interesting to me as it bucks the trend of acquiring players with positional versatility. Warmack was a guard at Alabama. He was a guard in Tennessee. He’ll be a guard in Philadelphia. I think the one-year “prove it” deal he signed last week was more about his familiarity with Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutlant: who was Warmack’s position coach at ‘Bama.

There is no such thing as a bad one-year deal. There’s no such thing as “too much” depth on the line. The signing was a big win for both parties.

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Going back, I still believe it’s all about versatility on the offensive line. Listen, I don’t care about which prospects in this class are best at center, or guard, or tackle. I want to see the guys who excel at two or more of those positions…because that is what, it seems, the Eagles value at a premium. Feeney is a great offensive guard, but he looks to me like a true guard. I would draft him if he were there in the second round, of course, but he won’t be there when the Eagles draft at 43 overall.

Pocic offers unbelievable versatility so he gets a bump for me in this scheme. Ya know, like Seumalo, or Wisniewski, or Barbre. They’re telling us what they like! That said: it’s hard to disagree with a guy like Dan Feeney (even though I just did). At Indiana, he was a centerpiece of an offensive line that paved the way for both Tevin Coleman & Jordan Howard.

BS: Yeah, Feeney is one nasty son of a gun. He’s got just no quit in him. I can’t tell you how many blocks ended up with him on the turf because of the effort he gave. You love to see that in an offensive lineman.

He doesn’t generate much power in the run game, due to bending a bit too often at the waist and lacking explosiveness out of his stance. That being said, he’s a bull in a china shop in the second level, tagging defenders regularly and really creating some displacement. He can get solid looks on reach blocks/down blocks, but it’s not consistent. I feel he can fit into either running scheme, zone or power, and Philly’s scheme has flavors of both.

He really shines for me in pass protection. He has nice length and knows how to use it, which is big. His hands consistently arrive with nice placement and decent fire, and he has ideal upper body strength to ragdoll defensive linemen. If he wins out of his stance and to his set point, he’s a rock-solid NFL starter.

Likely you said, it’s highly unlikely Philly adds a guard early, given the recent investments at the position. One guy who could be available a little later is swing G/T is Taylor Moton out of Western Michigan. He has the versatility you’re looking for.

MC: Exactly right. We each had Moton ranked high among our incoming tackles in last week’s post. We each had a bunch of comments from the Twitterverse asking why we didn’t show him any love in the discussion…here’s our chance.

Have a look at Moton’s spider graph compared to the this year’s other guards:

Pretty impressive. Now have a look compared to the tackle group:

Moton’s athleticism is remarkable. His game tape against Ohio State & Wisconsin showed he can play with elite collegiate talent. His strength on film is ridiculous. He has areas where he needs to work, sure. He can play tall because he lacks naturally smooth footwork. As a result, he can often rely on his reach and upper body strength. If he can refine his footwork and develop his leverage, he will be a great NFL lineman.

One guy I want to hear your thoughts on is LSU center/guard Ethan Pocic. I seem to like him more than you do. What about his game gives you reservations?

BS: My problem is his scheme fit. The Eagles run a good mix of zone and man blocking scheme, and Pocic’s a 6’6 center without fantastic quicks. I don’t know if he’s light enough on his feet to win in zone, and I don’t know if he plays with enough leverage and lower body power to win in man. He wins so many blocks just by outmuscling his defender, and that doesn’t always translate to the next level. Those he can’t win with brute force, he simply screens. He just gets in the way with his girth.

NFL defensive tackles will eat him alive if he can’t learn how to get his frame low. If he’ll be successful anywhere, it’ll be down-blocking in power and in stretch/outside zone plays. But when he’s square with a rusher, I just don’t trust him.

Same question, Dorian Johnson. Go.

MC: I was really stoked to see what Johnson had to offer in the way of a combine performance after watching his tape at Pittsburgh. I think the athleticism is obviously there and was wanting his combine to confirm that. My concerns with Johnson was his technique in engaging blockers and using his hands. I see him let defensive tackles “slip out” too frequently. Honestly, these are things that good NFL coaching (ahem, Jeff Stoutland) can get out of raw talents. Johnson is that prospect.

The one thing that did impress me at the Combine was his arm & hand size. He needs to get those meat hooks on the defenders and maul them a little more, in my opinion. Couple that with his lateral agility and positioning? Wow. It isn’t that I am dropping him off the board. Not at all. If you take Dion Dawkins out of my rankings, Johnson is my sixth-highest interior OL guy…just two spots behind where you have him. The difference being how I view Pocic: as an incredible center prospect with guard versatility.

Let’s finish up briefly touching on the last two guys on your board: Kutztown’s Jordan Morgan & West Virginia’s Tyler Orlosky.

Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 3, 2016; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky (65) waits to snap the ball during the second quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /

BS: Morgan really impressed on his limited tape. Maybe I’m a touch biased because I grew up near Kutztown, but I thought he played with NFL mass, agility, and violence. The technique, as you’d expect, is raw and needs refining. A transition to guard, from left tackle is likely imminent, which will actually help an offensive line coach build him from the ground up. If Morgan is hanging around in Round 4, I’m snatching him up as an instant backup guard and potential spot starter.

Orlosky is Just A Guy (JAG) to me. I think he has relatively average starting potential in the NFL as a zone scheme center, and that’s really the ceiling there. He can stand up a bull rush with quick, powerful hands and a solid anchor, but his lateral movement is sorely lacking. Blitzes and stunts confound him and his feet get stuck in the mud. I’d much rather have him as a backup center than anything else.

We’re going to wrap this up with our predictions for the Eagles’ offensive line depth going forward. Given the signing of Chance Warmack, the potential cut/trade of Jason Kelce, and the positional battles that will undoubtedly occur during camp, there are a lot of possibilities along Philadelphia’s offensive trench. Here’s how I see this playing out:

LT: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson
LG: Allen Barbre, Chance Warmack
C: Isaac Seumalo, Stefen Wisniewski
RG: Brandon Brooks, Chance Warmack
RT: Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Those eight listed will be the eight active on game day.

MC: Great idea given the Eagles preference for versatility. I see the Eagles viewing Wisniewski a little higher than you given they signed him to a three-year-deal and let Barbre shop for a trade. Wiz is going to want to start and probably would be elsewhere had he not received assurances he would be in-line to do so. It looks like we both agree Kelce is traded/cut before the season starts. This is how I see the depth chart right now:

LT: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Rookie #1
LG: Wisniewski, Chance Warmack, Rookie #2 (or Dillon Gordon/Darrell Greene)
C: Isaac Seumalo, Wisniewski
RG: Brandon Brooks, Warmack
RT: Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai

The Big Board

  1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
  2. Pat Elflein, Ohio State
  3. Ethan Pocic, LSU
  4. Dion Dawkins, Temple
  5. Dan Feeney, Indiana
  6. Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh
  7. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
  8. Jordan Morgan, Kutztown
  9. Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia

Next up: Edge Rushers

Next: Philadelphia Eagles Have An Odd Day Of Free Agency

Writer’s note: These are our joined OG & C rankings for the Philadelphia Eagles. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter what you think, and be sure to keep an eye out next week for our Edge Rusher rankings!