One week into Eagles training camp, competitions are heating up. But until the team gets a preseason game or two in, I’m not sure how much the depth chart has changed dramatically over the last eight days.
My guess is somewhere between 10-12 roster spots are up for grabs here, with injuries and special teams performance to drive a lot of those difficult decisions. In the meantime, here’s my first crack at how the 53-man roster could shake out come Aug. 31.
QB (2): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld
I haven’t seen enough of Clayton Thorson yet to argue he doesn’t merit a roster spot, but based on what I do know, there’s a chance the Eagles stash him on the practice squad. A strong preseason can change that assessment.
RB (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement
Of the backs vying for the fourth spot, Clement has the most to offer. He’s a core-four special teamer, can returns kicks and played a regular role in the offense the last two seasons. Josh Adams and Boston Scott have practice squad eligibility, while Wendell Smallwood will probably welcome the opportunity to go someplace the backfield is a little less crowded.
WR (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins
Not only did Hollins post a 72.7 catch percentage as a rookie in 2017, he played 50.8 percent of the Eagles’ special teams snaps as well. If he can get healthy and stay that way, it’s an upgrade over Shelton Gibson, who played 34.9 percent of special teams snaps with Hollins out of the picture last year and has three career receptions.
TE (4): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Joshua Perkins
Wouldn’t go so far as to call Rodgers a lock, but Perkins’ best shot to make the roster lies in the Eagles carrying four tight ends. It’s plausible given Goedert could be in line for an expanded role in the offense.
OL (9): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Stefen Wisniewski, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata
Is Vaitai a trade candidate? Consider the evidence. He’s in the final year of his contract. The Eagles have him working at guard after adding Mailata and Dillard in consecutive drafts. And even there, Big V faces competition from Matt Pryor, who held his spot on the 53 all last season. I have a hunch it might be Pryor over Vaitai once the right swap comes along.
DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Joe Ostman, Shareef Miller
I’m not projecting Ostman for double-digit sacks or anything. His biggest contribution to this roster is on special teams — though he is making a lot of noise in camp. It’s fair to say he’s ahead of Miller right now anyway.
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway
It’s hard to leave playoff hero Treyvon Hester off my 53, but I just can’t make the numbers work. Maybe he beats out Ridgeway. Then again, the Eagles traded their seventh-round pick to the Colts to acquire him, so they obviously liked him.
LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Nathan Gerry, Alex Singleton
Undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards out of Wisconsin is a really fascinating prospect who probably has a shot, but Singleton has really stood out to me. The first-year player’s athleticism is apparent, not to mention he was a two-time CFL All-Star, won the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award in 2017 and was a special teams standout. Intriguing battle right there.
CB (6): Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Orlando Scandrick, Cre’Von LeBlanc
LeBlanc’s injury complicates matters, as he was a prime trade candidate in a deep group of corners. As of now it’s looking like Jalen Mills could start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list, freeing at least one roster spot — perhaps buying the Eagles time to get LeBlanc back on the field and showcase him for potential suitors.
S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan
If the Eagles aren’t down a pair of corners, I can easily see them carrying five safeties. As the situation stands now, it’s a numbers game, with Sullivan, Deiondre’ Hall and Blake Countess all battling over one spot. Sullivan’s job is by no means safe, but Hall couldn’t beat him out for playing time last season, and Countess still appears to be recovering from a foot injury.
ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
No competition for their spots. Shouldn’t change barring injury or poor preseason performance.
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