Appearing on Philadelphia radio station 97.5 the Fanatic, head coach Andy Reid tempered the mounting sentiment that the first-round selection of Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins paves the way for Todd Herremans, the team's starting left guard for the last five season, to move to right tackle.
"Right now I'd tell you though that's probably not going to happen," Reid said. Herremans "is probably going to playing guard and Danny (Watkins) will probably be a guard and I think Winston (Justice) or King (Dunlap) will work that right side and (Jason) Peters is pretty well locked in at that left tackle spot."
Justice has been the team's starter at right tackle the last two seasons, though he is on the road to recovery from a knee injury that hampered his play in the second half of the season. Dunlap, meanwhile, saw his first extensive game action in 2010, starting a combined five games at both tackle positions.
"We've got a couple different things that we can do," Reid said. "King Dunlap stepped in at both right and left tackle last year and showed us that he can play, so that gives us a little bit of flexibility there. Winston is coming back off the injury and I think he's actually doing pretty good. When we had the few hours when the lockout was lifted, had a chance to visit with him and I think he's good to go. Herremans does give you that flexibility too, because he played tackle in college and then came in and he's been a guard since. He can play either side guard or either side tackle, so we do have some flexibility there."
So it seems the left side of the offensive line is set with Peters and Herremans, while Justice and Dunlap are likely to battle it out for the right tackle job. At left guard, all signs point to Watkins as the likely starter from the get-go.
"Normally your first-round pick's a fairly quick study and gets in there and contributes in his first year," Reid said. "With that, I think you'd say that about Danny. I think he's ready to go. I think it's just a matter of getting in and doing it. But physically and mentally, I think he's ready to step in and take on a starting spot."
Plenty still remains to be seen as to how this group of offensive linemen adjusts to new offensive line coach Howard Mudd's scheme. But right now, the Eagles appear to have a solid stable of options that extends to the second unit. At center, Jamaal Jackson and Mike McGlynn will likely face off for the starting nod, with McGlynn also an option at right guard. Along with potential free agents Max Jean-Gilles, Nick Cole and Reggie Wells, add to the mix the two offensive linemen taken on the third day of this year's draft - Iowa's Julian Vandervelde and Cincinnati's Jason Kelce - along with holdovers A.Q. Shipley, Dallas Reynolds, Fenuki Tupou and Austin Howard, and it should make for what is perhaps the most interesting position to watch come training camp.
Also of note during Reid's appearance on the Mike Missanelli show was his breakdown of the fourth-round selection of Nebraska kicker-punter Alex Henery. Reid said that the addition of Henery does not necessarily signal a departure for David Akers, the Eagles' Pro Bowl kicker, potentially slated to be a free agent, who was extended, but did not sign, the team's transition tag.
Henery is "a kicker-punter and we'll just see what happens down the road," Reid said. "I haven't had a chance obviously to talk to David or Sav, really any of the players because of the lockout going back into effect during the draft, so I'm certainly not going to talk to anybody before I talk to those guys. The way it's situated, it's a little bit crazy in the National Football League and David's status is a little crazy right now. We'll just have to see how things work out, so this is a good insurance policy. Listen, (Henery) was the best kicker out there at the college level. I think there was a big separation between him and the next kicker available. So we've had a bunch of picks over the last couple of years, we felt that this one made sense."
However, it does appear that, once he joins the team, Henery will likely stick to one specialty. When asked if Henery would potentially fill the roles of both kicker and punter at some point in the future, Reid replied, "I don't think so."