Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster with one week left of the preseason

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster with one week left of the preseason

With one week of preseason remaining, the Eagles’ roster is largely set, save for maybe a spot or two, so this is my final shot at predicting the 53-man roster.

There are a lot of intriguing debates to be had, but I put a lot of thought into first, who will be the 46 players active on game day, and then who are the best 53 overall.

What I came up with I think is pretty close to where the Eagles are, barring any trades between now and cut-down day.

QB (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

Clayton Thorson has been better of late, but not so much the fifth-round rookie shouldn’t pass through waivers and make it to the Eagles’ practice squad. The real intrigue here is whether there’s any trade market for Sudfeld, an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

RB (4): Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement

Honestly, it’s hard to discount the possibility Wendell Smallwood makes this roster as a fifth back. With Josh Adams likely to land on the scout team though, there doesn’t appear to be a need.

WR (6): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Mack Hollins

Ward clearly outperformed Hollins this summer, and Arcega-Whiteside can fill vital roles on special teams. Still, Hollins keeps getting opportunities, so I can’t help but think the third-year wideout will be here, even he’s inactive on Sundays. Keep in mind, the former fourth-round pick only started practicing again in June after a year-long absence.

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins

There’s a chance Perkins would’ve made the roster over Richard Rodgers anyway, but the vet’s never-ending string of injuries makes it a formality.

OL (8): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata

Stefen Wisniewski’s demotion from backup center to backup guard doesn’t indicate good things are on the horizon for the vet. The Eagles seem to like Nate Herbig and may be able to sneak him on to the practice squad — don’t be surprised if he’s on the 53, though.

DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller

Hall looks like the Eagles’ third or fourth best end right now, but Sweat is a talented prospect whom the club shouldn’t give up on quite yet. Miller is still extremely raw and won’t be in uniform on Sundays.

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway

There’s been little discernable difference between Ridegway and Treyvon Hester, other than the Eagles traded a draft pick for Ridgeway. Blocking the occasional field goal is great — just maybe not enough on its own to crack this particular roster.

LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards

Edwards truly played himself into a spot here, though injuries within the ranks didn’t hurt. The undrafted rookie may or may not be active on a weekly basis, but he’s not making it through waivers after a preseason in which he showed improvement each week.

CB (6): Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Orlando Scandrick, Cre’Von LeBlanc

It seems LeBlanc could be out awhile, which is problematic. With Scandrick, the Eagles won’t necessarily miss LeBlanc on the field — yet to IR him the first half, he needs to be on the roster Week 1. That’s far from a guarantee, but with no end in sight to Jalen Mills’ stint on the physically unable to perform list, it may be necessary.

S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Jonatan Cyprien

Once the Eagles are finished jockeying players around after initial cuts, there’s a chance the Eagles carry five safeties, one of whom is a dedicated special teamer such as Deiondre’ Hall or Rudy Ford. It can probably wait until LeBlanc hits IR, or another corresponding move.

ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato

Is Elliott the best kicker in the league? Obviously not, but the Eagles’ philosophy right now basically boils down to Grass isn’t always greener. Probably astute and accurate — he’s won them more games than he’s lost so far.

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Eagles injury report: The latest on injuries to Nigel Bradham and Jason Peters

Eagles injury report: The latest on injuries to Nigel Bradham and Jason Peters

Sounds like good news on Nigel Bradham and Jason Peters, who both left the Vikings game early with injuries.

Bradham suffered an ankle injury and Peters left the game with a knee injury, but Pederson on Monday classified both injuries as day-to-day. 

“We’re sending their information off, they want second opinions obviously, so we grant that for them,” he said. “Looks like it’s more day-to-day with these two guys. We’ll see later today and for sure on Wednesday.”

Cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are both likely to return to practice when the Eagles return to work on Wednesday and could be available to play against the Cowboys Sunday, Pederson.

Pederson said DeSean Jackson is improving but is not expected back at practice on Wednesday.

Mills hasn’t played in nearly a year because of an unknown foot injury. Monday is the first day he’s eligible to be activated from the PUP list onto the 53-man roster.

Darby has missed the last three games after injuring his hamstring in the Lions game. He’s played only 23 of a possible 43 games since the Eagles acquired him from the Bills before the 2017 season.

Darby is on the 53-man roster, but if the Eagles activate Mills before practice Wednesday they would have to make a corresponding roster move, perhaps releasing cornerback Ryan Lewis.

We’re going to incorporate Jalen Mills a little bit this week in practice, we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week and if he’s capable maybe there’s an opportunity there (for him to play),” Pederson said. “Darby, we expect him to ramp his workload up a little bit and see where he’s at. We’re starting to get healthy. … We’re slowly starting to get guys back.

Mills hasn’t played since the Jaguars game last Oct. 28, and Pederson said the Eagles will have to really limit his playing time when he does return because of the long layoff.

Pederson indicated that Darby should be able to handle a larger workload immediately.

You’ve got to be careful with Jalen, he hasn’t played in a while, that’s why practice is so important for him,” Pederson said. “I don’t think it would be smart on our part to put him out there for a full 60-minute game if he’s ready to go. I think Darby, on the other hand, you could do that because he’s played this season, so I would expect Darby to play a little more if he’s healthy than say Jalen.

As for Jackson, he’s now missed most of the last five games after getting hurt in the opening minutes of the Falcons game. 

Jackson caught two long TD passes in the opener, but the Eagles don’t have a catch of over 26 yards by a wide receiver in their last four games.

“DeSean is working,” Pederson said. “He’s still day-to-day. We’ll see again by the end of the week where he’s at. … DeSean probably won’t practice Wednesday, but we’re giving to continue to keep running him and use that as part of his rehab.”

If Jackson doesn’t practice Wednesday, he would have to make a significant amount of practice on Thursday and Friday to be available for the Cowboys.

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Doug Pederson: We’re going to beat Dallas next weekend

Doug Pederson: We’re going to beat Dallas next weekend

Updated: 12:40 p.m.

The morning, after one of the worst losses during his four years as head coach of the Eagles, Doug Pederson is talking very confidently about his football team. 

Pederson said, point-blank, that the Eagles are going to go down to Dallas next weekend and beat the Cowboys to take over first place in the division. 

Take a look at his comments on 94WIP this morning: 

Anytime Dallas loses, it helps. Because here’s the thing. I know the sky is falling outside. It’s falling, and I get that. And the fans are reeling just a little bit. But we’re going down to Dallas and our guys are going to be ready to play and we’re going to win that football game. And when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East, we control our own destiny, we’re right where we need to be. 

“Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No, but all we gotta do is be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we’re in first place. And, listen, they’re reeling too. I mean, they’re struggling too. They dropped their last three games, so this will be an exciting football game.

While it sounded like Pederson was guaranteeing a victory, at his noon press conference, he said he wasn’t. 

“I never said that. Never said guarantee a win,” Pederson said. “I would never do that.”

Pederson said he spoke so strongly this morning because saying something like, “We’re going to try to win a game,” wouldn’t have shown enough confidence. 

After a 3-0 start, the Cowboys have dropped their last three games, including a game to the Jets yesterday, but for Pederson to come out and call a win less than 24 hours after a beating at the hands of the Vikings is … interesting. 

When asked why he’s so confident in his team a day after an 18-point loss, Pederson said when he watched the tape this morning, there were plenty of correctable mistakes. 

“As the head football coach, I’m going to stand here and show confidence in my football team because that’s what I have,” Pederson said. “I have confidence in my football team, the guys that are on the football field. It’s our job as coaches to prepare them, get them ready to play.” 

The Eagles and Cowboys are both 3-3, so Sunday Night Football next week will give us the leader of the division. The Cowboys beat the Eagles in both matchups between the two teams last year and took the NFC East crown. After Sunday’s matchup, the Eagles and Cowboys won’t play again until Week 16.  

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