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Eagles Working Out Idaho Lineman

Offensive Lineman Iupati Coming In For Workout
By Lance Epstein

A source close to Scouts.com has told them that Idaho interior offensive lineman Mike Iupati will be working out for the Eagles.

Besides the Eagles, the Idaho guard is expect to and has been pilling up a lot of frequent flier miles as he has or will be working out for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. Additionally, Iupati is supposed to visit other teams such as Dallas, Atlanta, Kansas City, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Miami in the upcoming weeks as well.

According to Scout.com's Christ Steuber, Iupati is the premier interior lineman in this year's draft. On the web site and on ESPN.com, Iupati is ranked as the top offensive guard in the entire 2010 NFL Draft. Moreover, ESPN has him as the 14th best player overall.

Currently, the Eagles hold the 24th pick in the 2010 draft, which could put the ultra versatile lineman out of their reach. Steuber analysis on Iupati supports the idea that if the Eagles truly covet him, they will have to trade up to acquire him.

"A three-year starter at Idaho, Iupati has improved each year and has developed into the highly-touted prospect he is today," Steuber said. "Scouts are enthusiastic about his ability and believe he can play OT or OG at the next level. The versatility that he presents, to go along with the strong showing that he's had this offseason, makes Iupati a valuable commodity and it's likely that he could hear his name called in the 16–23 range."

Iupati is very similar to current Eagles left guard Todd Herremanns. Both have the unique talent to play both tackle and guard in the NFL. Not only can they play both of the positions, they do it at a high level.

It is well-known that head coach Andy Reid likes drafting or signing offensive lineman that can play any position on the line (Hence Stacy Andrews signing from last year and drafting of his brother). Versatility in their offensive linemen allows the Eagles to not miss a beat if an injury occurs during the game since they have played or skill to play the position (see Nick Cole playing center after Jamaal Jackson tore his ACL in the first half of the Broncos game in week 16).

However what will truly draw Reid to Iupati is his mean streak. He is a mauler at 6-6, 330 pounds and has a relentless motor much like former Eagle great Jon Runyan.

Although there are some durability concerns with him. He missed games in 2007 with shoulder surgery and the first two games of 2008. Although, he came back dominating this past season and showed his willingness to still compete at a high-level unlike Shawn Andrews.

The Eagles would be thrilled if Iupati fell to them considering Stacy Andrews did not show much promise last season after recovering from a torn ACL. Also, the Eagles gave right tackle Winston Justice a contract extension, but after signing the deal his play was less then stellar.

Additionally, do not be surprised if the Eagles are more disappointed in Jason Peters play then they let on. They gave up a first rounder, signed him to a big-time deal, but his play did not warrant a Pro Bowl selection or what he was being paid. Iupati has the athleticism and power to play the left tackle position at a dominating level.

Ultimately, the embarrassing playoff loss to Dallas revealed that the Eagles' offensive line had those holes that I just talked about and needed to be upgraded regardless whether the quarterback is Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb. The passing plays had no chance as Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware were consistently making plays in the backfield and the running lanes were non-existent. Iupati can start from day one and be a significant upgrade.

Lastly, Iuapti improves the Eagles depth charts since guards Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles have not signed their restricted free agent tenders.

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