The Eagles finally have a stable offensive line, so despite coach Andy Reid's love of loading up in the trenches, it would be surprising to see the team use an early pick on a lineman when the draft begins Thursday.

The Eagles don't have a pressing need there - though there has to be some long-term concern about left tackle Jason Peters after he suffered a torn Achilles - and that's a good thing, because this tackle class is considered quite thin.

Southern Cal's Matt Kalil is expected to go early in the draft, perhaps in the top five, and after that analysts don't see the elite tackle prospects that teams covet to protect their treasured quarterbacks.

The top tackles after Kalil are Iowa's Riley Reiff, Georgia's Cordy Glenn, and Stanford's Jonathan Martin. Each could go in the first round.

Guard David DeCastro, also of Stanford, is one of the top linemen in the draft and could be a top-20 pick. But after choosing Danny Watkins in the first round last year and re-signing Evan Mathis, it seems unlikely that the Eagles would use an early pick on another interior lineman.

The team has had success finding linemen in later rounds, including sixth-rounder Jason Kelce last year and Todd Herremans in the fourth round in 2005. Each is a key starter.

The Eagles are always good for a few surprises around the draft, but it also would be a shock if the team invested in a tight end or running back early.

The tight-end class also is seen as quite weak after Stanford's 6-foot-6 Coby Fleener. The Eagles are set with Brent Celek as a starter, but if Fleener lasts into the second round he could tempt Reid, since offenses increasingly move to two tight-end formations. Fleener, though, could go at the end of round one.

The Eagles could use a backup running back for LeSean McCoy, who had 273 carries and 48 receptions last season. Anyone the Eagles pick will have to be able to pass-protect and catch, which hurts the chances that it will be Temple product Bernard Pierce. Virginia Tech's David Wilson or Oregon's LaMichael James could fit the bill.

Look for the Eagles to also try to find a speedster who can help their anemic return units.

Contact Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com, or follow @JonathanTamari on Twitter.
Get complete coverage of the Eagles' 2012 NFL Draft in Philly.com Sports' special section.