The Eagles haven’t even practiced yet but their roster has already seen a few notable changes in the last few weeks.
• Marquise Goodwin opted out of the season
• Vinny Curry is back on a one-year deal
• Veteran linebacker Jatavis Brown retired
With all those changes in mind, it was time for a new 53-man roster prediction a couple days before the Eagles begin non-padded practices.
Here’s the latest:
QB (3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts
These three haven’t changed and they won’t. Kyle Lauletta is the fourth quarterback and has a chance to be on the expanded practice squad this season. Maybe the Eagles really change the way they handle quarterbacks this season but I’m sticking with three on the 53-man roster.
RB (4): Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Adrian Killins Jr.
The top two are locks and Clement has a big lead for the next spot. There is already plenty of buzz coming out of Eagles camp about how good Clement looks after injuries ended his last two seasons. After those three, it’s a competition between Elijah Holyfield, Mike Warren and Adrian Killins. I honestly don’t know who’s going to win. My thinking before was that Holyfield has an advantage because he’s been here but I think Killins has a real shot to show out in practices. I think he might be more of a project but Killins has tremendous speed and that will show at practice more than Holyfield and Warren’s ability between the tackles. It should be fascinating to watch.
WR (6): DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward Jr., John Hightower, Quez Watkins
The big change here is the removal of Marquise Goodwin, who opted out of the 2020 season. He was the only Eagles player to opt out. Now, coming off an injury in 2019, I don’t think Goodwin was a roster lock, but he was most likely going to make the team. Without him, it probably opens up a spot for both late-round rookies. With Goodwin in the mix, Hightower and Watkins probably would have battled for a spot, but I think both of them make it now. Of the other returning players, keep an eye on Deontay Burnett; he’s the one guy I think has a shot.
TE (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins
Obviously the top two are set in stone and create the best duo of tight ends in the NFL. After that? Well, it’s not great. Perkins is battling with newcomer Caleb Wilson and UDFA Noah Togiai. With his experience in the offense, Perk is the frontrunner for a job.
OL (9): Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, Prince Tega Wanogho, Jack Driscoll
My guess is the Eagles keep nine or 10 offensive linemen. A couple years ago they went with eight, but that was uncharacteristically low for them. And as long as they’re healthy, I don’t expect the Eagles to cut their draft picks, Tega Wanogho or Jack Driscoll. The real question for me was about Nate Herbig, the 10th OL and the 54th guy on the roster. I have him off for now.
DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Genard Avery, Shareef Miller
The Eagles brought back 32-year-old Vinny Curry on a one-year deal, so we’ve added him. Expect Curry to be the Eagles’ third defensive end, just like he was last year when he lead Sweat in snaps. I also don’t think the Eagles will give up on Avery yet after they traded a draft pick for him last season. The real question was about how many DEs to keep. I opted to keep an extra DE and include Shareef Miller over that 10th offensive lineman in Nate Herbig. I think the possibility that Miller helps you in 2020 is greater than Herbig.
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway
I feel pretty confident about these four. This is a really impressive group of defensive tackles.
LB (5): Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley
I actually didn’t have Jatavis Brown on my last prediction but he’s certainly off the list now. The fifth-year veteran decided to retire, so that means Bradley has a much better shot at a roster spot. I think the top four are locks because the Eagles won’t cut a third-round pick. And I have Bradley edging out Alex Singleton for that last spot. But Singleton has a shot.
CB (6): Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Rasul Douglas
If the Eagles keep six corners, Douglas is on the team. If the Eagles go light and keep five, I think they cut him. But based on how many injuries they’ve see at the position in recent years, keeping Douglas around for depth makes sense to me. Heck, the reason he’s played so much in recent years is because guys keep getting hurt.
S (4): Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, K’Von Wallace, Will Parks
Keep an eye on UDFA Grayland Arnold from Baylor in this group. I don’t have him on the team for now, but he’s already making an impression on his coaches and teammates. Still, these four are set. If they keep five, it would go to either Arnold, Rudy Ford or Marcus Epps.
ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
No changes here.
PUP: Brandon Brooks, Alshon Jeffery
For now, Brooks and Alshon are on the PUP, so I’ll keep them there. The IR rules this season might actually change the way teams handle designations at the start of the season. Guys who are put on IR can return as long as they miss three games. So if the Eagles think Jeffery could be back in Week 4, then IR is actually a better option than PUP in 2020.
Practice squad (16+ international exemption): Nate Herbig, Kyle Lauletta, Deontay Burnett, Casey Toohill, Sua Opeta, Luke Juriga, Noah Togiai, Grayland Arnold, Alex Singleton, Tremon Smith, Joe Ostman, Mike Warren, Elijah Holyfield, Marcus Epps, Raequon Williams, Michael Jacquet, Matt Leo.
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