After benefiting from having one of the more stable offensive lines in the league in 2013, the Eagles have been forced to make several adjustments along their front five in the wake of several injuries. Center Jason Kelce is expected to be sidelined until Week 10, guard Evan Mathis is on injured reserve/designated to return, and versatile backup Allen Barbre is out for the rest of the season. Second-year right tackle Lane Johnson returns from suspension this week, allowing Todd Herremans to shift to right guard, but Philadelphia is starting Matt Tobin and David Molk at center, an alignment the team certainly didn’t have in mind at the outset of the season. As such, Field Yates of ESPN (link via Yates’ colleague, Phil Sheridan) reports the Eagles met with center/guard Julian Vandervelde on Friday, an indication the team is hoping to bolster the depth along its O-line.
Vandervelde, 26, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Eagles in 2011. After playing his college ball at Iowa, he was active for 16 games over three seasons with the Birds; he rarely played, however, as he saw just nine offensive snaps in 2013. Expected to make the squad again in 2014, Vandervelde suffered a back injury which allowed Molk to earn a place on the team. Vandervelde was waived with an injury settlement in late August as Philadelphia trimmed its roster to 75 players.
As Sheridan notes, the Eagles’ interest in Vandervelde could either signify a willingness to move on from Molk, whom Pro Football Focus (subscription required) grades as the worst center in the league through four weeks, or a sign that Philadelphia wants an upgrade over backup lineman Wade Smith. Smith, 33, was signed on September 10, but hasn’t started a game and has seen just 18 offensive snaps despite the injuries to the Eagles’ front five.