The Eagles begin training camp today and we’ll start to see the roster formed over the next few weeks.
As camp begins, the Eagles have 90 players on their roster. That will be whittled down to 85 by Aug. 17, then to 80 by Aug. 24 and finally down to 53 by Aug. 31.
Here’s my best guess at the Eagles’ 53-man roster before training camp begins:
Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco
I have Nick Mullens not making the team, which could go the other way. The Eagles did include $200,000 guaranteed in his contract. But I still think they’d be able to stash him on the practice squad and if another team calls, simply promote him to the active roster to prevent him from leaving.
Running back (4): Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson
I’m pretty confident those first three will be on the roster and then it gets trickier. There seems to be a competition brewing for that last spot between Johnson, Jason Huntley, Jordan Howard, Elijah Holyfield and Adrian Killins Jr. There are a few different types of players in the mix. I don’t know what Johnson has left, so I reserve the right to change that spot. If I didn’t have Johnson making it, I’d probably keep Huntley or Howard; it really depends on what Nick Sirianni thinks they need. The Eagles could keep five running backs — they did it briefly a few years ago — but that’s not the best allocation of roster spots.
Receiver (6): DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward Jr., Travis Fulgham, Quez Watkins, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
In this projection, I have John Hightower as the most notable cut. It’s very possible that the sixth and final spot could come down to Hightower, JJAW and Michael Walker, who excels on special teams. Ultimately, I gave the nod to JJAW because while he’s been disappointing, I still think I’d rather have his upside than Hightower’s, which I realize is probably an unpopular opinion. The Eagles could also keep just five receivers but I think Sirianni's history with the position keeps this at six.
Tight end (3): Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Jack Stoll
No Zach Ertz here. I know he’s in camp but I’m still having a hard time imagining that he’s on the roster by the time the regular season rolls around. I think eventually, Howie Roseman will trade him. The Eagles are a better football team with Ertz in 2021 but trading him is still the right thing for the organization. They’ll save $8.5 million in cap space that will rollover to next offseason and they’ll be able to feature Goedert correctly in the offense.
Also, I have UDFA Stoll as the third guy in. He got more guaranteed money than any of the Eagles’ other UDFAs. And just last year the Eagles lost out on Noah Togiai, when they tried to sneak him through waivers to the practice squad. He ended up with Sirianni in Indianapolis. Maybe they won’t make that mistake again.
Offensive line (10): Jordan Mailata, Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta
There’s a chance the Eagles keep just nine offensive linemen — heck, they kept just eight a few years ago — but if I’m the Eagles, I’m not willing to lose a guy like Opeta, who they’ve put years into at this point. There are some notable cuts here like Matt Pryor, Luke Juriga and Brett Toth. A few of those guys, including UDFA Kayode Awosika, could end up on the practice squad.
For the record, I think veteran Le’Raven Clark won’t be ready for the opener so I have him on the PUP list to start the season as he recovers from a torn Achilles.
Defensive end (5): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Tarron Jackson
The last time I did think exercise I had five defensive ends but I kept seventh-round pick Patrick Johnson, who is listed as a linebacker but will likely be a standup edge rusher. The addition of Kerrigan makes this group at least four deep but they can afford to keep five, which is a spot for sixth-round pick Jackson. If the Eagles really want a stand-up rusher, then perhaps Johnson or Genard Avery take a roster spot.
Defensive tackle (5): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Hassan Ridgeway, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu
There’s a chance the Eagles might keep just four defensive tackles but that would mean either cutting Ridgeway or cutting Tuipulotu and getting him through waivers. For now, it behooves the Eagles to go a little deeper at this spot. I’d keep Ridgeway because despite injuries in recent years, he is at least a solid veteran in the rotation. Williams will play in 2021 but how good will he be early? And Tuipulotu might actually be ready to contribute in 2021 despite being a sixth-rounder. If Williams has an excellent camp, then perhaps Ridgeway is more expendable.
Linebacker (6): Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson, T.J. Edwards, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, JaCoby Stevens
This is a little heavy at linebacker, keeping six. But Stevens will have more of a hybrid role as a safety-linebacker and the Eagles aren’t going to move on from their other draft picks. They could move on from Edwards but that would mean Taylor had a big training camp. I think this is the group.
Cornerback (5): Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Craig James
The addition of Nelson means another player is gone. There are two other players who will be fighting for that last job that I have going to James: Josiah Scott and Michael Jacquet. It’s possible one fo them could win the job and the Eagles did trade for Scott. But I have the Eagles sticking with James because of his ability on special teams, where he’ll be a top gunner.
Safety (4): Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps
Perhaps we’re a little light here at safety, especially since McLeod is coming back from injury. If he’s not 100 percent or not ready for the opener, then the Eagles could keep Andrew Adams or Grayland Arnold too. For now, I have Adams, the veteran, as a cut with the Eagles electing to keep the younger Epps. That could be a battle to watch in camp.
Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Arryn Siposs, Rick Lovato
These are the only three on the roster. I’m curious to see how Siposs performs. A bad camp and the Eagles might be forced to bring in another option. If you’re wondering the same about Elliott, his contract likely keeps him here either way.
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