The initial wave of free agency is over and so is the draft. So now we can start to see the 2020 Eagles take shape.
I was torn on whether or not to call this a 53-man roster or a 55-man roster. The new CBA says teams are allowed to call up two practice squad players to their active roster every week, giving them a 55-man roster. But I’m going to project the main 53 guys for now.
Some positions are easy, some are hard.
And it’s wayyyy too early to be doing this. But without OTAs and with training camp up in the air, this process won’t be easy in 2020:
QB (3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts
Once the Eagles picked Hurts in the second round, this became pretty easy. Wentz is obviously the starter, but I’d expect Sudfeld to be the backup quarterback in 2020. The Eagles like him and he’s been here for three seasons now so he knows the offense way more than a rookie in an unusual offseason will. But if the Eagles plan on using Hurts in a non-traditional way, this also means all three will be active on game days.
RB (4): Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Michael Warren II
The top two were pretty easy for me. Sanders is the starter and has Pro Bowl potential. And Scott did enough good things last season to earn a roster spot and some playing time in 2020. After that? It’s really anyone’s guess. I have Clement making the roster after signing a vet minimum deal this week but that’s certainly not guaranteed. And then I have Warren II from Cincinnati; like what he did there, tough runner. That means Elijah Holyfield and Adrian Killins are off the roster. But my guess is those four: Clement, Warren, Holyfield and Killins are fighting for the last two roster spots unless the Eagles bring in another veteran. Those jobs will be won in training camp, if there is a training camp.
WR (6): DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower
You’ll notice the absence of Alshon Jeffery. Coming off a Lisfranc injury, I have opportunistically decided he’ll be on the PUP to begin the 2020 season. The other notable absence on this list is sixth-round pick Quez Watkins. Goodwin is on the team, but until we see him at practice, I have no idea what he has left in his knee. If Goodwin is shot, then Watkins can take that place. If not, the Eagles can try to sneak Watkins to the practice squad. (And, sorry, JJAW makes the team after a disappointing rookie season; can’t see them cutting a second-rounder.)
TE (2): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert
With the new 55-man roster rule, I think one area where the Eagles can take advantage is at tight end. They have their top two but after that have three guys: Alex Ellis, Josh Perkins and UDFA Noah Togiai. I expect the Eagles to go into games with three tight ends but they can keep a couple on their practice squad and pick on a week-by-week basis, deciding with matchups. By the way, I think Togiai has a chance to stick.
OL (9): Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, Prince Tega Wanagho, Jack Driscoll
The Eagles really like Nate Herbig, who made the team as an undrafted rookie last year and learned how to play center. But if anything ever were to happen to Kelce, it’s still more likely the Eagles put Seumalo at center and replace him at left guard. There’s a chance the Eagles could end up putting Prince Tega Wanagho on IR too; he had a knee injury and surgery that was the likely reason he dropped to the sixth round, so there’s a built-in excuse. But for now, we’ll consider him a backup tackle and swing tackle candidate.
DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry, Genard Avery, Shareef Miller
Yes, I’m aware Curry isn’t on the roster right now but he’s a free agent and looking at the depth at defensive end, the Eagles might want to bring him back. Curry will be 32 in June but he had 5.0 sacks last year and at least they can rely on him. That last spot will then be a battle between Miller, a fourth-round pick last year, and Toohill, a seventh-round pick this year. Toohill has a great physical makeup but Miller has been around a year already and was a higher pick. I’m leaning that way for now. Try to get Toohill to the practice squad; he’s a developmental player who might not help them right away.
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway
This was a pretty easy position. The top three are locks and are damn good players. And then Ridgeway was brought back on a one-year deal for a reason. He had a good season going in 2019 before he went down for the year. Perhaps the Eagles go with five here after being decimated by injury in 2019 but they’ll probably keep one or two on the practice squad.
LB (6): Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley
The draft had to be a bummer for Alex Singleton, the former CFL star who made the Eagles’ roster in 2019. Singleton was a special teams player and the Eagles drafted two linebackers who will excel on special teams. I think because of that, Bradley will make the roster over him as a sixth-round pick.
CB (6): Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc
I think maybe there’s a chance the Eagles still try to trade Douglas for a late-round conditional pick but with how decimated the Eagles have been at corner over the last few years, it’s probably worth keeping Douglas around. Good mix of outside corners and nickel corners here.
S (4): Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace
The Eagles were high on Rudy Ford when they traded for him last offseason but they brought in Parks and Wallace, who can both be special teams contributors. So Ford and Marcus Epps are both out for now.
ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
No controversy here. These three guys, barring injury, are set in stone.
Practice squad (12+*1 international exemption): WR Quez Watkins, DE Casey Toohill, iOL Nate Herbig, OG Sua Opeta, TE Alex Ellis, TE Noah Togiai, RB Adrian Killins, S Grayland Arnold, DT Raequan Williams, CB Tremon Smith, LB Alex Singleton, DE Joe Ostman, *DE Matt Leo