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April 14, 2018

Eagles 2018 NFL Draft preview: Interior offensive line

Leading up to the draft, we'll be taking a look at each of the Philadelphia Eagles' positional groups. We'll determine if the Eagles are likely to select a player at that position with one of their six picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, as well as note some players who make sense. Today we'll look at interior offensive line.

Previous draft preview positional analysis

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive tackle

At center and right guard, the Eagles have a All-Pro in Jason Kelce, and a Pro Bowl selection in Brandon Brooks. At left guard, Stefen Wisniewski proved to be a good starter in relief of Isaac Seumalo, who was benched after the Eagles' Week 2 loss in Kansas City.

Behind Kelce, Brooks, and Wisniewski, the Eagles have decent depth in Seumalo and Chance Warmack, which doesn't leave much room for another interior OL addition. When you consider that the Eagles will likely only keep eight offensive linemen (maybe nine if they draft an offensive tackle), there just isn't much room for another guy. A quick look at the interior OL depth chart:

 LGStefen Wisniewski Chance Warmack 
 CJason Kelce  Isaac SeumaloJon Toth 
 RGBrandon Brooks Darrell Greene 

There are only two roads toward using a relatively high pick (let's say fourth round or higher) on an interior offensive lineman in this draft, in my view:

  1. If the Eagles can significantly upgrade on Stefen Wisniewski with a potentially dominant player who can be a starter from Day 1 at LG, then the Eagles could view Wisniewski as something of an outstanding first guy off the bench. That type of player would likely have to be taken in the first round, and that's hard to see.
  2. If the Eagles have soured on either Seumalo or Warmack, then they could be looking for added depth to replace them.

Here are a few interior offensive linemen who may make sense for the Eagles, if you're buying either of the two bullet points above (and I'm not so sure I am). We'll keep these a little more brief than previous positional previews because of the unlikelihood of the Eagles drafting an interior offensive lineman early (and also because I don't want to spend three hours writing about guards on an 80 degree Saturday).

James Daniels, C, Iowa (6'3, 295): Daniels came to Philly on a pre-draft visit, which is interesting. He has outstanding athleticism, and would be a great fit for the Eagles' offense, but with Kelce in place, where does he fit?

Round projection: 1-2

Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia (6'3, 313): Wynn played LT and LG at a high level at Georgia. In the pros, he's not going to play on the edge because he's a hair under 6'3, however, like Seumalo, Wynn could potentially fill in at OT in an emergency. Wynn would be a long-term answer at LG, with some tackle versatility.

Round projection: 1-2

Billy Price, C, Ohio State (6'4, 312): Price likely would have been a first round pick had he not torn a pectoral muscle during the pre-draft process, putting his rookie season in jeopardy. Instead, he'll almost certainly slide into the second round, and maybe even into the third. Last year, the Eagles played the long game by drafting Sidney Jones in the second round, knowing that he likely would not play his rookie season. The Eagles could find similar long-term value in Price if they trade out of the first round.

Round projection: 2-3

Braden Smith, OG, Auburn (6'6, 303): You don't often think of 6'6, 303-pound offensive linemen as guards, much less good run-blocking guards, but that's what Smith is. He also has tackle experience, so the same logic we used with Isaiah Wynn above would apply here.

Round projection: 3

Tyrone Crowder, OG, Clemson (6'2, 334): As you might imagine with a 6'2, 334-pound guard, Crowder is a mauler in the run game. Also as you might imagine for a man of his dimensions, Crowder isn't exactly pretty to look at in the screen game or when he's asked to pull, although there some moments when he does a good job coming off double teams and picking up an extra block at the second level. He could be a late-round developmental guy to challenge Chance Warmack in camp.

Round projection: 5-7

RELATED: Eagles-only mock draft, version 4.0

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