The Eagles will have to finalize their initial 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, which means there are some tough decisions looming.
And not much time left in the evaluation process.
Before the Eagles have to trim their roster, they have two joint practices against the Jets and the third and final preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Friday night.
Here are 10 players on the bubble who could benefit from a good week against the Jets:
S Andrew Adams
The veteran missed the beginning of training camp on the COVID-19 list but has looked good since returning. Rodney McLeod is still on the Active/PUP list and even if he doesn’t begin the season on PUP, it might make sense for the Eagles to keep five safeties. And now K’Von Wallace is still dealing with a groin injury. I once thought Adams was a possible veteran cut and he might still be, but he might be able to sneak on the roster as a veteran depth player and special teams contributor.
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
The former second-round pick is firmly on the bubble. JJAW has had very good moments in training camp this year, but he hasn’t shined nearly as much as he did last summer. Is he worth keeping as a big-bodied slot receiver? Maybe. But that’s not definite, and he doesn’t offer much as a special teams player. If JJAW is on the roster, he’s probably the sixth receiver.
OT Le’Raven Clark
Clark is off the Active/PUP list and he’s been ramping up. In these practices, he just needs to show he’s healthy. There are some questions about the depth at the tackle spot, especially because Andre Dillard is still here and clearly shouldn’t be a starter. If Clark looks healthy this week, he offers the Eagles a veteran backup.
WR John Hightower
We mentioned Arcega-Whiteside but 2020 fifth-round pick John Hightower is also on the bubble. He’s battling with JJAW for one of those last roster spots at receiver. After missing some time with injury, Hightower has returned just in time to show the Eagles he can be a valuable member of the team. He needs to be more consistent.
RB Jason Huntley
Huntley was having a strong training camp before he popped up on the injury report with a ribs injury. But he appears ready to return in time to make a final roster push. If Huntley makes the team, he’ll likely do so as the fifth running back after Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell and Jordan Howard. Do the Eagles need to keep five running backs? No, they don’t. But Huntley hit on some explosive runs this summer and is also a possibility as a kick returner.
LB Patrick Johnson
The seventh-round pick from Tulane pick got off to a slow start this summer, but he’s picked it up the last couple of weeks. Jonathan Gannon keeps showing that he wants this hybrid SAM position to be a part of his defense. Genard Avery has gotten the most first-team reps at that spot but he has suffered two different groin injuries this summer, which has given Johnson an even better shot of winning a job.
DT Hassan Ridgeway
I came into training camp thinking Ridgeway was going to be the Eagles’ third defensive tackle, but he hasn’t stood out at all. He has been outplayed by fellow veteran T.Y. McGill and with Fletcher Cox nursing an injury, it was actually third-rounder Milton Williams taking reps with the first team on Sunday. It’s certainly not a guarantee that Ridgeway makes the roster.
CB Josiah Scott
The Eagles traded for Scott in May and the 2020 fourth-round pick has been showing why he’s nicknamed “the Gnat.” The Eagles have Avonte Maddox as their top nickel corner, which means keeping Scott (5-9, 185) would mean keeping a backup nickel. That’s somewhat of a luxury, which is why his spot is up in the air.
LB JaCoby Stevens
Stevens missed significant time with a hamstring injury, which unfortunately came after his best day of training camp back on Aug. 4. He finally returned to the field on Sunday. Will he be able to do enough to keep his roster spot? That remains to be seen. The sixth-rounder out of LSU has a hybrid-like role. He’s listed as a linebacker but is just 212 pounds and played safety in college.
TE Jack Stoll
The undrafted rookie from Nebraska had a very good second preseason game and with the injury to Tyree Jackson might have a new opportunity. If the Eagles decide to put Jackson on IR, then maybe Stoll can sneak onto the roster. The tight end position is an interesting one with Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Richard Rodgers, Stoll and Jackson. Even if Stoll doesn’t make the team, the Eagles would probably want to get him to the practice squad.
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