Eagles

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices

The Eagles are now in summer break mode until training camp in late July, when training camp starts. 

That’s obviously when the real practices begin, but we have seen them for several OTAs and then the mandatory minicamp, so we at least have something to work off of. 

It’s too early, but here’s my first crack at the Eagles’ 53-man roster: 

QB (3): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
This is easy … for now. There’s always the possibility Foles gets traded during training camp. Remember, this happened a couple years ago when Sam Bradford was shipped to Minnesota after the Teddy Bridgewater trade. But for now, we’ll keep all three of these guys on the list. 

RB (4): Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Matt Jones
The Eagles kept five out of the gate last summer. That included Donnel Pumphrey, who landed on IR shortly after. I have Pump and Wendell Smallwood both missing the cut in favor of Jones. The Eagles signed Jones this offseason and head coach Doug Pederson talked like the veteran is really in their plans. In order to get on the field, he’ll need to cut down on his fumbles, but he’s on the squad for now. 

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers 
Billy Brown didn’t have a great spring, so we can’t give him the nod over Rodgers, who didn’t do anything to lose his spot. Josh Perkins had a decent camp, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll make the team. Rodgers for now, but Brown could sneak in with a great training camp. 

WR (6): Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Markus Wheaton, Shelton Gibson 
Greg Ward and Rashard Davis had good springs, but it’s hard to see either of them beating out these guys and that’s with the Eagles keeping six. I have them with six because the top four are locks, Gibson stuck last year and has improved and Wheaton is coming off an impressive spring. He’s the last guy in. 

OL: (9) Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Chance Warmack, Matt Pryor, Isaac Seumalo
The five starters and Vaitai are no-brainers. I then kept Warmack as a backup guard, Pryor as a backup tackle and Seumalo as a backup everything. Seumalo has struggled early in his career, but that versatility is enough to keep him on the roster. No Jordan Mailata. It’s possible the Aussie makes the team, but there’s no way he can play this year. If he makes the team, it’s just because the Eagles don’t want to chance him going elsewhere. 

DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Josh Sweat, Steven Means
Really, the top five here are pretty easy. The question is if they keep a sixth, which would be a pretty high number of ends. But it’s just good to have Means around. He’s a great practice player who brings a ton of energy and is also versatile enough to move inside on certain downs. He’s worth keeping in the building. 

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls 
We’re light on defensive tackles, but Bennett and Graham can slide inside sometimes, so we don’t need as many. Until I see Tim Jernigan on the practice field, I’m going to assume that he’ll start the season on the NFI. That keeps a spot open for Qualls. Keep an eye on Aziz Shittu too. He is healthy after a knee injury last year and had a great spring. 

LB (5): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Corey Nelson, Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill 
I left Joe Walker off this list for now, but I think he still has a shot to make the team; he’s just had trouble staying healthy in his short NFL career. Either Nelson, Gerry or Grugier-Hill will win the WILL job left by Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles also have veteran LaRoy Reynolds, but he wasn’t able to practice all spring. We’ll see what he can do in training camp. 

CB (6): Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, De’Vante Bausby
This time last year, we were talking about cornerback as a positional weakness for the Birds. A lot has changed. Darby and Mills will start and I still think Sidney Jones is going to win the nickel job. And then the team still has Bausby, who has come on strong, Douglas, who is a great guy off the bench and a rookie draft pick in Maddox. Maddox might not make the team on merit, but they drafted him and can’t afford to lose him. D.J. Killings is off the roster for now. 

S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Corey Graham
Tre Sullivan is left off this list, which is hard to do based on what the team thinks of him and based on how he looked this spring. But I still can’t see the team being comfortable enough to really give him playing time. I also haven’t seen enough from undrafted Jeremy Reaves. Graham is on the street right now, but he reportedly wants to play and the Eagles still seem interested and have the cap space to get it done. That makes too much sense to me; I think he’ll be back. And as long as Maragos is healthy, I think he’s still a valuable special teamer. 

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato, Cameron Johnston
Easy for now. They’re the only ones on the roster. 

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Based on history, look for Eagles to draft a lineman first again

Based on history, look for Eagles to draft a lineman first again

Since 1991, the Eagles have had 25 first-round draft picks.

Three receivers. Two quarterbacks. One cornerback.

And 19 linemen.

This is Howie Roseman’s philosophy. It’s Joe Douglas’s philosophy. It was Andy Reid and Tom Heckert’s philosophy and, even before Big Red got here, it was Tom Modrak’s philosophy.

Build up the lines first.

And nobody has done it more than the Eagles.

Since 1991, the Eagles have drafted more linemen in the first round than any other team.

They’ve taken 11 defensive linemen — tied for most in the league during the last 28 drafts — and they’ve taken eight offensive linemen, third-most behind the Seahawks and Lions.

The most combined linemen?

19 … Eagles [8 OL, 11 DL]
17 … 49ers [6 OL, 11 DL]
16 … Rams [6 OL, 10 DL]
14 … Seahawks [9 OL, 5 DL]
14 … Lions [9 OL, 5 DL]
14 … Saints [6 OL, 8 DL]
13 … Patriots [6 OL, 7 DL]
13 … Cardinals [6 OL, 7 DL]
12 … Jets [2 OL, 10 DL]
12 … Buccaneers [3 OL, 9 DL]
12 … Vikings [8 OL, 4 DL]

The only non-linemen the Eagles have taken in the first round since 1991?

Quarterbacks Donovan McNabb in 19991 and Carson Wentz in 2016, both with the No. 2 pick. Receivers Freddie Mitchell in 2001, Jeremy Maclin in 2009 and Nelson Agholor in 2015. And cornerback Lito Sheppard in 2002.

And you know what? There’s a good chance they’ll take another one this year at No. 25.

Much of the rest of the league has adopted the Andy Reid philosophy to build up the lines first and then fill in the blanks.

Most mocks drafts have 17 to 19 linemen going in the first round this year — more than half.

During Roseman’s years as general manager — 2010 through 2018, minus 2015 — the Eagles have taken four defensive linemen (Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett), two offensive linemen (Danny Watkins, Lane Johnson) and Wentz.

With picks in the first half of the draft?

The only non-linemen since 1989 are McNabb and Wentz.

You’re always a product of the people you’re around, and just growing up in this environment and this system and where coach Reid was and someone that really put a huge emphasis on that, it was something that stuck," Roseman said. "We won a lot of games with that philosophy. We try to study what other teams are doing, what successful teams are doing, and you see, it’s important obviously to build along the lines and sometimes you say that, but you have to reflect it also with your actions.

Roseman first joined the Eagles in 2000 as a salary cap intern, so he was around Reid from Corey Simon through Cox.

And Douglas, Roseman’s No. 1 adviser and the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, shares his philosophy to build from the inside out:

Joe and I, when we started talking about building teams, it was quickly apparent that we believe in the same things. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t disagreements on certain players, that doesn’t mean there are other things that we kind of see differently because of his background and how he was raised in this business, but that adds to it.

The first round of this draft is jam-packed with talented defensive, and there are some very good o-line prospects as well.

The Eagles don’t generally draft for need, but of their five projected 2019 offensive line starters and four projected d-line starters, only Isaac Seumalo will be under 29 when OTAs start next month.

So you can hope for a receiver, a running back or a cornerback. Based on what we know about Howie? Based on recent history? Based on what just may make the most sense?

It’ll be a lineman. Again.

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Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

If you quickly thought “W” when you saw the Eagles were hosting Washington at the Linc to open up the 2019 regular season, you’re not the only one. 

The Eagles opened up as eight-point favorites on FanDuel. That’s pretty consistent with other sports books too. I’ve also seen them at 8 1/2. 

That eight-point spread is the biggest of Week 1 in the NFL, but that shouldn’t be too surprising. Maybe if Washington trades for Josh Rosen, that changes. Maybe if they draft a quarterback in the first round, that changes. But for now? That seems about right. 

Washington fell apart last year, but the Eagles beat them 28-13 in Week 13 and 24-0 in Week 17. In the last two seasons, the Eagles are 4-0 against the Skins and have beaten them by an average of 15 1/2 points per game. If that continues, they'll cover easily. 

Elsewhere in NFL Week 1, the Seahawks are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Bengals, the Cowboys are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Giants and the Saints are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Texans. Those three favorites are also at home. 

Taking a quick look at FanDuel’s futures odds, the Eagles are tied for the seventh-longest odds to win the Super Bowl at +1,600. That means if you bet $100, you’d win $1,600. 

Here are current Super Bowl odds: 

Patriots: +700
Chiefs: +800
Saints: +850
Rams: +900
Browns: +1400
Chargers: +1400
Bears: +1600
Colts: +1600
Eagles: +1600
Packers: +1800
Vikings: +2000
Steelers: +2000
Cowboys: +2300
Falcons: +2600
Texans: +2800
Seahawks: +2900
49ers: +3000
Jaguars: +3300
Ravens: +3400
Panthers: +5000
Titans: +5000
Raiders: +5500
Broncos: +6000
Giants: +6000
Jets: +6000
Buccaneers: +6000
Bills: +8000
Lions: +8000
Redskins: +8000
Bengals: +10000
Cardinals: +11000
Dolphins: +12000

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