Coming into the 2011 NFL Draft, many viewed the right tackle position as the Eagles biggest need. There were beliefs that they’d take an offensive tackle in the first round. They selected offensive lineman Danny Watkins in the first round, but they brought him in to fill the hole at right guard.
They would go in to make 10 more selections in the draft, but they didn’t bring in any players at the tackle position.
There were a lot of reports as the draft approached that said the Eagles were higher on Winston Justice than a lot of people believed. He has played well at times, but really struggled down the stretch in 2010 and ended up being pulled against the Packers.
Those two things could very well indicate that the Eagles think Justice could be the starter in 2011. Is that something I’d be thrilled about? Not really.
I do believe that Justice can be a good player. He’s played well in the past. He’s just failed to play with any sort of consistency. Howard Mudd may be able to work on some things with him, and I’m sure he’s already spent plenty of time looking at film on Justice. Regardless of what Mudd does, I’ll still be worried if Justice ends up as the opening day starter.
What about other guys on the roster? King Dunlap filled in for Justice last season, but he’s mostly been a train wreck while on the field. He had a great game against Atlanta last season, but other than that, he hasn’t shown much potential to be a starting tackle in this league.
There are younger guys out there like Austin Howard and Fenuki Tupou. Both have good size but haven’t had a whole lot of starting experience. Seems like a lot to ask for one of them to step into the starting lineup and start protecting Michael Vick’s blindside.
Let’s not forget that either. Not only do we have a lot of questions about the right tackle situation, we have a lot of questions about the guy who’s going to protect Vick. That’s a huge question considering the financial investment the Eagles are about to make on their starting quarterback.
Will the Eagles look for someone to compete for the spot in free agency? Maybe, but it’s not going to be the top priority. Someone has to step up.
What are your thoughts on the right tackle position heading into the 2011 season?