Eagles

Eagles' 53-man roster projection before 1st preseason game

Eagles

The Eagles have gone through 11 days of practices and will kick off their preseason tomorrow night against the Steelers.

So it feels like a good time for another 53-man roster projection.

The Eagles have 90 players on their roster. They must be down to 85 by Aug. 17, 80 by Aug. 24 and down to 53 by Aug. 31.

Here’s my latest projection:

Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco

Early in training camp, I actually thought Nick Mullens was outplaying Flacco, but that has changed. Flacco has responded nicely and has been the overall better backup quarterback. I guess there’s a fear about losing Mullens on waivers but I’d be willing to take that risk. I think the Eagles will be able to get him on the practice squad.

Running back (5): Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson, Jason Huntley

Before training camp, I really thought the Eagles were going to keep just four running backs but that has been the most fun battle of the summer. And these guys have performed well enough to justify keeping five. Huntley is the last one in and I like his potential as a kick returner. The big cut here is Jordan Howard, who has looked good in camp too. But I think Johnson’s ability in pass protection gives him the nod.

Receiver (5): DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, Quez Watkins

I know this is light on receivers but can I really justify keeping J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the sixth wideout who doesn’t really contribute on special teams? I think the Eagles will be able to keep either JJAW or John Hightower on their practice squad and elevate them as they see fit. If Smith is healthy by the opener, I’m fine going light here at the start.

 

Tight end (3): Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Tyree Jackson

If Zach Ertz is still on the roster by the next time I do a 53-man projection, I’ll finally include him. But I still have a feeling that the Eagles are going to trade him. Either way, Tyree Jackson has looked good enough to earn a roster spot; I think he can play. Another option for the Eagles would be to cut Rodgers and then re-sign him after the opener to avoid guaranteeing his contract as a vested veteran. Something to keep in the back of your mind. Another cut here is UDFA Jack Stoll, who would be a good candidate for the practice squad.

Offensive line (9): Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta

The last few cuts here were Luke Juriga, Kayode Awosika and Matt Pryor. This is a pretty deep group of offensive linemen, when you think about cutting those three players. The Eagles would probably like to keep Juriga and Awosika around. It’s tough to figure out how many linemen they’ll keep, but 8-10 seems like the right range. By the way, I have Landon Dickerson on the NFI to start the season. If he’s ready, then he’ll obviously take a spot.

Defensive end (5): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Tarron Jackson

This group feels pretty safe to me. I guess the Eagles don’t have to keep Jackson on their 53 but I like what I’ve seen out of him in training camp.

Defensive tackle (4): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Hassan Ridgeway

The top three are set in stone but I’m not sure about Ridgeway. He hasn’t really stood out much at camp and I think another veteran, T.Y. McGill, has actually outplayed him. But I think the Eagles can probably keep McGill or Raequan Williams on their practice squad.

Linebacker (6): Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, Davion Taylor, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, JaCoby Stevens

I suppose I should have Genard Avery on this list because Jonathan Gannon has seemed fixated on making that a position in his defense but I still don’t see it. Maybe if Taylor’s injury is more significant than originally thought, Avery can make the team. But I just haven’t seen him do enough at this camp to warrant a spot. So I have him, Patrick Johnson and Joe Ostman all getting cut.

Cornerback (6): Darius Slay, Steve Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Craig James, Josiah Scott

I had five corners the last time I did this but since then I have added Scott, who is having a quiet but very good training camp. I get why his nickname is the Gnat. And having a true backup nickel makes sense because it gives the Eagles options. James is on the team for his special teams ability. I don’t think there’s a spot for Michael Jacquet, who is my last guy out.

 

Safety (5): Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps, Andrew Adams

In my last projection, I had four safeties but I think Adams has done enough since coming back from the COVID-19 list to warrant a spot, especially now that Wallace is going to miss some time. Adams can also be a big-time special teams contributor. If you’re looking for another name to keep an eye on: Elijah Riley is having a nice camp and is at least a practice squad guy if he can’t make the 53.

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Arryn Siposs, Rick Lovato

All three specialists are running unopposed this summer. I will, however, be keeping a close eye on Siposs during the preseason.

PUP: Le’Raven Clark

NFI: Landon Dickerson

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