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Who Stays, Who Goes: Offensive Tackles

The Eagles are as deep at the position as any team in the NFL

The Eagles have perhaps the most talented offensive tackle group in the NFL with All-Pro level bookends in Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata, as well as another starting-level LT in Andre Dillard.

From there, Jeff Stoutland has a competent swing tackle option in Le’Raven Clark and the significant depth continues with Jack Driscoll, whose natural position is RT, as well as Brett Toth, who can play either side but is rehabbing from a torn ACL in Week 18 against Dallas that will cost the West Point product the offseason.

Another name in the mix under a futures deal is Kayode Awosika, who played tackle at the University of Buffalo in college but was moved inside to guard by the Eagles for the most part as an undrafted free agent. The cross-training could be amped up for Awosika in Year 2.

While there has to be some concern over Johnson, who will turn 32 in May, it certainly doesn’t have much to do with his on-field work which remained at an All-Pro level.

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Lost in Johnson’s three-game battle with mental health issues was the realization that offseason ankle surgery seemed to work and the veteran was healthy for the most part when available to Nick Sirianni.

At LT, Mailata, set to turn just 25 in March, is a 6-foot-8, 380-pound unicorn, a player  Stoutland developed from football novice into the best blind-side protector in the world not named Trent Williams in four short years.

An awe-inspiring blend of strength and athleticism, Mailata is primed to be one of the NFL’s best OTs for years to come.

Dillard, 26, is an interesting conundrum for Howie Roseman because the 2019 first-round pick clearly proved to be an NFL starting-level LT when forced into action for five games in 2021, stemming from Mailata’s sprained knee, Johnson’s time away, and a Week 18 start when Sirianni was resting key players like Mailata and Johnson.

Both Mailata (No. 3) and Johnson (No. 8) were graded among the top ten OTs in the NFL this season by Pro Football Focus and Dillard was No. 45, comfortably inside the 64 number that would define a starting-level player in the league.

With multiple teams around the league desperate for LTs, the Eagles could certainly ship Dillard for a draft choice with the most likely giveback being an early Day 3 pick.

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From the Eagles’ perspective, though, that might not be worth it because it’s valuable to have insurance for Johnson due to age, injury history, and off-field issues.

Detractors of Dillard will rightfully point out that the Washington State product isn’t versatile and you need to be that as a backup in this league. However, they’re missing the boat in that Mailata has proven he can easily shift to RT if need be so that increases Dillard’s in-house value.

Entering Year 4 the Eagles may decide to just ride things out with Dillard in 2022 unless someone comes knocking with a Day 2 pick in April. The problem here is that the Eagles are not going to guarantee Dillard’s fifth-year option, meaning that come 2023 he will be able to walk in free agency.

RELATED: Who stays, Who Goes: Interior Offensive Line - Sports Illustrated

Clark will turn 29 in April and was signed to an extension through 2022 in December after proving he was back from a torn Achilles’ suffered with Indianapolis in 2020. The extra year tacked on was a clear indicator he’s the leader in the clubhouse to be the swing tackle in 2022,

Driscoll will turn 25 on April Fools Day and is likely going to be in the mix as a potential starter at right guard after Brandon Brooks’ retirement but Driscoll, who is a Nick Sirianni favorite, has filled in for Johnson in the past at RT and played there at a high level in college at Auburn.

Toth, 25, should be back from his knee surgery late in the summer and brings impressive versatility to the party.

STAY: Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Le’Raven Clark, Jack Driscoll, Bret Toth (rehabbing from ACL surgery), Kayode Awosike (futures deal)

GO: Andre Dillard (potential trade)

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.