Philadelphia Eagles News

2010 Free Agency Rankings: Offensive Tackle

The Eagles overhauled this position last off-season by trading for Jason Peters and watching Winston Justice blossom into a starting player. There is question about the depth at the position. It remains to be seen whether Shawn Andrews, who was supposed to take over at right tackle, will ever be a factor again. King Dunlap learned what it was like to play against an elite defensive end in Oakland's Richard Seymour, but left guard Todd Herremans is the first one to slide over in an emergency. Here is my list of the top 10 soon-to-be free agent offensive tackles.

On a side note, my weekly Fan-Demonium column will be held until Thursday as I'll do a complete free agency preview and what I hope the Eagles will do. Tomorrow, I will have my rankings for the guard and center positions.

1. Jammal Brown, New Orleans Saints (RFA)
Brown has a lousy sense of timing. He only missed a handful of games in his career, but then missed the entire 2009 season. He had to watch the Super Bowl run from the sidelines. He hit free agency the year that the CBA situation went haywire and it limits him to being a restricted free agent. This has not been a good year for him. The two-time Pro Bowl left tackle missed the year because of a sports hernia injury. When healthy he is an outstanding player and would be a coveted commodity. The Saints put the highest tender on him to pretty much ensure that he will be around next year.

2. Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RFA)
The three-year starter has developed into a good left tackle. He lacks ideal athleticism and plays too high at times, but manages to get the job done. Penn uses his hands well and doesn't give up on plays. He is an overachiever-type that will battle until the whistle, or the echo of the whistle. He's looking for a big payday. The Bucs put the highest tender on him so that limits his availability.

3. Jared Gaither, Baltimore Ravens (RFA)
Massive blocker who is still a player on the rise. He is 6-9 and 340 pounds. Gaither plays left tackle for the Ravens. He's coming off his worst season in terms of sacks allowed, but Gaither wasn't fully healthy in 2009. He actually missed five games. The Ravens will put a high tender on him, but with Michael Oher in place they may not put the highest tender on Gaither. Teams looking for a tackle will be watching this situation.

4. Marcus McNeill, San Diego Chargers (RFA)
The Chargers will want to keep the man who protects Phillip Rivers' backside. McNeill has started 62 of 64 possible games in his career. The 6-7 and 336-pound left tackle isn't a great player, but he is a solid, reliable blocker.

5. Charlie Johnson, Indianapolis Colts (RFA)
Johnson is an interesting player. The Colts have moved him around quite a bit in his four-year career. They started him off at right tackle. He then played some left guard. He got some time at left tackle due to injury, but them moved there permanently in 2009. Johnson is a good player, but isn't so good that teams will pursue him if the Colts place a high tender on him. Johnson is a smart, efficient blocker. He's not a great athlete or overpowering type. He is aided by the fact that Peyton Manning doesn't hold the ball for long. That helps him to limit sacks. He also doesn't get called for many penalties.

6. Willie Colon, Pittsburgh Steelers (RFA)
Colon is the first right tackle on the list. He has started for three years and developed into a good player. He's given up quite a few sacks, but a lot of that goes on Ben Roethlisberger for holding the ball forever and ever. Colon lacks ideal size at 6-3 and 315 pounds, but he is a scrapper that battles on every down. He might be ideally suited to move inside to right guard.

7. Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans Saints (RFA)
Came out of nowhere to be the starting left tackle on the Super Bowl winner. Bushrod didn't start a game in his first couple of years. He only played in three. Jammal Brown got hurt and Bushrod stepped in at left tackle. Bushrod isn't a great pass blocker. He struggled at times against good pass rushers. He is a good run blocker. His pass protection should get better with time. With Brown tendered at the highest level, the Saints placed a second-round tender on Bushrod.

8. Jeremy Trueblood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RFA)
Trueblood has been the Bucs starting right tackle for 61 of the last 64 games. He's huge at 6-8 and 320 pounds. He is a nasty, physical blocker. That's what you want in a right tackle. He will give up some sacks, but Trueblood is generally an effective pass blocker. He did have a problem with false start penalties this year and that's something that must be addressed.

9. Alex Barron, St. Louis Rams (RFA)
Barron has been a starter for his entire five-year career. He's played right and left tackle. Barron has not developed into a high-level player, but he is an adequate starter. The Rams will likely tender him at a high level to make sure they retain his services.

10. Mike Gandy, Arizona Cardinals (UFA)
Gandy played left tackle for the Cardinals for most of the year, but suffered a sports hernia injury and missed the final few games and playoffs. It will be interesting to see what kind of a market there is for his services. Gandy is 31-years old. He's not an ideal pass blocker. He just doesn't have the athletic ability you prefer in a left tackle. He is a good run blocker. Some team could look at him as a right tackle or also project him to guard. I'm not sure that any team will pursue a guy his age coming off an injury as a starting left tackle.

-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 6:42 p.m., February 28*

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