Philadelphia Eagles claimed OT Thomas Welch off waivers from the St. Louis Rams several days ago. He joins the backup crew of King Dunlap, D.J. Jones and fifth-round pick Dennis Kelly.
Last year, Welch played in eight games—five for the St. Louis Rams and three for the Patriots. He also spent some of the season on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad.
Originally, the New England Patriots drafted him in the seventh round in 2010; however, he was released by New England and spent most of his rookie year on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad. He was called up to the Vikings’ 53-man roster at one point but did not play.
Welch fits Howard Mudd’s monster size protocol. He’s 6’ 6”, 300 pounds and is the lightest man on the tackle squad. However, he makes the fourth backup, and even though none of them will be able to fully replace Jason Peters, I can’t imagine the Eagles keeping four reserve tackles. With Jones and Welch claimed off waivers and Kelly drafted, Dunlap might be on the market rather soon.
In an article on www.philadelphiaeagles.com, Welch’s NFL.com scouting report as a draft prospect in 2010 reported this:
(Welch) is an adequate athlete for the position but lacks the kind of initial quickness, agility and lateral range to play on the left side at the next level. He is still learning the nuances of the offensive line and will need a few seasons, probably as a practice-squad member, to get it all figured out.
He is not a natural knee-bender and tends to lunge out after blocks and generally goes to the ground too often. He struggles when trying to mirror better edge rushers at this level and will need to move back to the right side if he has any chance to make it in the NFL. When things go according to plan, he appears comfortable and confident, but when faced with something he hasn’t seen in practice, he can look lost.
Welch has prototypical size and very good length. Solid athlete who has some versatility after playing tight end and both tackle positions in college. High-effort kid who shows a bit of a mean streak and fights to the whistle every play.”