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Offensive line help will have to wait

16h

PHILADELPHIA -- Having spent most of the last few days writing about what the Eagles did in the NFL draft, it seems appropriate to address what they didn't do.

More than anything, Chip Kelly did not address the offensive line. The Eagles have not drafted an offensive lineman since taking Lane Johnson with the fourth pick in the 2013 draft. This year, it seemed like a more pressing need because of circumstances and a number.

The number: Left tackle Jason Peters and left guard Evan Mathis are 33 years old. It would be a good time to be developing their eventual replacements.

The circumstance: Mathis has been unhappy with his contract for the past two offseasons. That has kept him from attending voluntary workouts at the NovaCare Complex. With the release of right guard Todd Herremans in March, that leaves the Eagles with uncertainty at both guard spots.

Kelly said he liked some offensive linemen, but watched them come off the board before he could grab one.

"There was a couple guys there," Kelly said. "That's just kind of how it works out. You can't predict where it was. There was a run in the second round. There were some guys we were really excited about, but they went before we picked, also. That's just kind of how it goes."

In the fourth round Saturday, three offensive linemen were selected immediately before the Eagles were scheduled to pick. They got a trade offer from Detroit and decided to take it.

That left the Eagles without an offensive lineman to develop. That means there is more urgency around Mathis' situation. For the second year, the Eagles gave Mathis and his agent permission to seek a trade to another team.

"Evan has been available to trade for two years now, and we've never had an offer for him," Kelly said. "That's through his agent and him. They've asked us if we can renegotiate a contract and see what he can get, and we've obliged them with that, but we've never had an offer on him."

Meanwhile, Kelly is comfortable with the candidates to replace Herremans and perhaps Mathis. They include Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner.

That trio started a total of 16 games last season at guard and tackle.

"You only have a certain amount of picks," Kelly said. "It's not that we don't think we need to create depth on the offensive line, but as you look at it right now, the only offensive lineman we've lost is (Herremans), and so we feel like getting Allen Barbre back off of his injury, Tobin and Gardner played really well for us there, and we've got some young guys that we're still continuing to develop. Julian Vandervelde is back. There's some guys there that have played for us, but it's just kind of how it fell. There were some offensive linemen we were really excited about in this draft, but … they got picked before we had an opportunity to pick again."

The trades that left them without picks in the fourth and fifth round had something to do with that.

"The board was pretty depleted by the time we got back on the clock," Kelly said.