Here is the fifth in a series of looks at the Eagles roster:
Today: Guards and centers
On the roster: The Eagles can feel comfortable at left guard with Evan Mathis, who had a strong second season in Philadelphia even though he did not have Jason Peters and Jason Kelce on either side of him.
The right guard spot is more of a question. Danny Watkins has not been productive enough in his first two seasons with the Eagles after the team gambled on him as a 2011 first-round pick. He did not fit well in former offensive line coach Howard Mudd’s system and a fresh start might help. The Eagles need to hope that’s the case, because Watkins is already 28.
There’s also the possibility that Todd Herremans moves from tackle to guard, where he has spent most of his career. In that case, Watkins would be the odd man out. Julian Vandervelde is a developmental player. Jake Scott is a free agent who fit in Mudd’s system but likely doesn’t have a future in Philadelphia.
At center, Kelce is a valuable player if he recovers from a torn ACL and effectively grasps whatever new system is put into place. Look for him to be the starting center. That does not bode well for Dallas Reynolds, who was inconsistent in Kelce’s place last season. Matt Tennant is another center on the roster and will need to be evaluated by the new coaching staff.
Not on the roster: Whether the Eagles add a big-name guard would depend on their evaluation of Watkins and whether Herremans moves to guard. The Bills’ Andy Levitre and the Chargers’ Louis Vasquez are intriguing names as an unrestricted free agency considering their age and experience.
In the draft, Alabama’s Chance Warmack is the top player and would require a high pick. Guards do not usually go in the top 5, though, so he might hit the radar if the Eagles trade down.
At center, Warmack’s teammate Barrett Jones is the top talent. Stanford’s Sam Schwartzstein is expected to be a late-round pick, but he has experience on a good offensive line and in front of Kelly.
Coming Monday: Defensive line