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Eagles offensive line in a good place after NFL Draft

Eagles offensive line in a good place after NFL Draft
Can the Eagles squeeze another productive season out of left tackle Jason Peters (71)? (Matt Rourke / AP)

First of a 10-part series.

Rookie camp begins for the Philadelphia Eagles on May 11, and the horde around Jordan Mailata's locker will do nothing to dwarf the 6-foot-7, 350-pound mass of humanity they drafted in the seventh round on Saturday.

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Everyone is going to want to to know everything about the Australian rugby player, star of a YouTube highlight video that's as hilarious as it is enlightening.

But Mailata will need time to develop. If he does wind up playing for the Eagles in 2018, it would almost certainly be a sign that the wheels have come off with multiple season-ending injuries hitting the same position group.

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That would be an extreme situation. Yet even if it does break bad, the Eagles are set up perhaps better than anyone in the NFL to handle it. Their offensive line depth was exceptional by league standards heading into the draft, in which they selected TCU's Matt Pryor in the sixth round, Mailata in the seventh and then added undrafted free agents Toby Weathersby of LSU, Ian Park of Slippery Rock and Aaron Evans of Central Florida.

Last season, after losing left tackle Jason Peters to a devastating knee injury, they simply plugged second-year player Halapoulivaati Vaitai in and kept rolling all the way to a Super Bowl championship.

Last season also saw Isaac Seumalo, who can play all three spots on the line, open as the starter at left guard before losing the job to the more experienced Stefen Wisniewski. But Seumalo rebounded and performed well as an extra lineman the Eagles often use in short-yardage packages because they have no fullback and their tight ends are only marginal at best in the run game.

The Eagles view Vaitai and Seumalo as possible future starters. In addition, Chance Warmack may have a chance to resurrect his career under offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, his position coach in college at Alabama. Warmack also gained a good amount of experience, starting 48 games with the Tennessee Titans before coming to the Eagles.

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But none of these players see the light of day unless something happens to Peters, Wisniewski, center Jason Kelce, right guard Brandon Brooks or right tackle Lane Johnson. That group, which returns intact, helped a championship offense flourish despite having no rusher or receiver reach 1,000 yards and being forced to turn to backup quarterback Nick Foles when Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Johnson is widely considered one of the top tackles in the game, if not the finest. Brandon Brooks made his first pro Bowl in the 2017 season. Kelce rebounded from a season in which he struggled so much that his job was thought to be in jeopardy to become a consensus first-team All-Pro.

Then there's Peters, likely headed to the Hall of Fame after his career, which has seen him be selected to nine Pro Bowls. But at age 36, a void continues to drive him. He's never won a playoff game.

Since the Eagles have already proved they can win it all without him, they can afford to be patient with his comeback attempt.

With proven depth behind him, they project to be fine either way.

Not too many teams, if any, can make the same claim when it comes to their offensive lines.

EAGLES OFFENSIVE LINE DEPTH

Centers: *Jason Kelce, Jon Toth

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Guards: *Stefen Wisniewski, *Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack, Darrell Greene

Tackles: *Jason Peters, *Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Taylor Hart, Matt Pryor, Jordan Mailata, Toby Weathersby, Ian Park, Aaron Evans

* Denotes starter

Twitter @nickfierro

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