EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Eagles have finished up their preseason and are a week and a couple days away from their season opener.
Just a quick disclaimer: I expect the Eagles’ roster to be fluid based on some injuries, but they still have to go from 90 to 53 by the deadline at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Here’s my final 53-man roster projection:
QB (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld
In this scenario, I’m exposing rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson to waivers. I’m aware that it’s a little risky to do that; the Eagles don’t want to lose him. But I’m taking that chance because keeping four quarterbacks is too many. (And I haven’t seen enough from him to think teams will be knocking down the door for him.) The Eagles can get him to their practice squad and will be ready to bring him up if needed.
RB (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles
This means the Eagles will be cutting Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Boston Scott. I think at least one of those guys will end up on a 53-man roster somewhere else. If the Eagles keep five, I think Smallwood would be the guy they keep. Perhaps they could even trade Smallwood or Adams.
WR (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins
Maybe Hollins doesn’t really deserve this roster spot, but I think he makes the team because of special teams. Greg Ward was a tough cut because he probably deserves to make the team. The one thing he has going for him is his ability as a slot receiver. If they keep six, he’d be my pick.
TE (4): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins
This is exactly what the Eagles did last year. They kept Rodgers and put him on IR. I think that happens again with his foot injury. You can debate whether or not that’s right, but the Eagles like Rodgers. They returned him from IR last year and then signed him to a new contract in the offseason. Either way, I think Perkins is TE3 to start the season.
OL (9): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, Stefen Wisniewski
My only somewhat surprising cut is Matt Pryor. There’s some precedent here. A few years ago, the Eagles kept Dillon Gordon on their roster as an inactive player for a full season and cut him the next offseason. And some folks want to cut Stefen Wisniewski — I get it — but with Brandon Brooks’ injury, I want to keep some interior OL depth with experience. If Big V has to start the season at right guard, Wiz is an injury at any of the interior positions away from playing. If Mailata (back) ends up on IR before the roster is final, then Pryor is on the team.
DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller
This is heavy on DEs, but I’m not prepared to get rid of any of these guys yet. Perhaps Miller could be a phantom IR guy, but he might be able to help this year. I haven’t seen enough bad to cut any of those last three. I will say I think Hall should be the fourth guy and get snaps this season — at least to start the year.
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway
I cut Treyvon Hester, which was tough. I think he’s pretty equal to Ridgeway, but the Eagles traded for Ridgeway and he has more experience. If they keep five, Hester makes the team.
LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards
Perhaps my most surprising move is keeping UDFA Edwards. He’s had a good camp and with the injury to KGH, I’m fine keeping an extra linebacker. Some have suggested the Eagles cut Fort, but I need him to be a starter in the base package in Week 1.
CB (5): Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc
You’ll notice the omission of Orlando Scandrick, but I think he’ll be back once either LeBlanc or Rodgers hit IR. That means the Eagles will have their initial 53-man roster with just four healthy corners, but Scandrick will be back soon. I think Jalen Mills starts the season on PUP.
S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien
I think these four guys are pretty safe. Sendejo and Cyprien didn’t play on Thursday night, but the Eagles know what they have there.
ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
Unless they sign Carli Lloyd, these three are locks.
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