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Eagles 53-man roster prediction after free agency

Eliot Shorr-Parks
March 23, 2019 - 8:32 am

Slowly but surely, the Eagles’ 2019 roster is starting to take shape. 

Obviously there is plenty to be decided between now and when the team makes final cuts prior to Week 1 — like the NFL Draft and all of training camp. Still, there is no denying that roster spots have already been won and lost over the last week, as the Eagles have added high-priced free agents and restructured the contracts of certain players. As the result of those moves, players who were on the bubble are now facing an uphill battle to make the team. 

So what might the Eagles’ 53-man roster look like after the first two weeks of free agency?

Here is a guess:

Quarterback (2018: 3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld (2)

Analysis: The Eagles might have interest in bringing in a veteran quarterback to compete with Nate Sudfeld, but in the end, it is hard to see him not being the top backup. It is even tougher to see the Eagles carrying three quarterbacks, as they are unlikely to find one good enough worth holding a roster spot for behind Sudfeld. 

Running back (2018: 4): Veteran, Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Rookie, Wendell Smallwood (5)

Analysis: Of all the positions on the roster this one still has the most change coming. The team’s top running back likely isn’t on the roster yet. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the team add both a veteran and a rookie to this group, in addition to keeping the three running backs they counted on the most lost season — Clement, Adams and Smallwood. 

Wide Receiver (2018: 6): Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, Mack Hollins, Rookie, Veteran (6)

Analysis: The top three spots at this position are locked up, barring a surprising trade of Agholor. The question is what happens behind Jeffery, Agholor and Jackson. Hollins will get the first crack at the spot, and if he is healthy after missing all of last season, he should be able to hold onto a roster spot. Considering his lack of playing time, however, the team is likely going to want another veteran behind the top three receivers incase one goes down with an injury. The Eagles would also be wise to add a rookie to this group to develop. 

Tight Ends (2018: 4): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Veteran, Rookie (4)

Analysis: It is very possible they only go with three tight ends, but for now, we’ll give them four since that is what they carried the majority of last season. Ertz and Goedert will get the majority of the playing time, but with how much the team plans to have two tight ends out on the field at the same time, they are likely going to want a third tight end they can count on to play right away if needed. A rookie tight end is also possible. 

Offensive line (2018: 10): Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Rookie, Veteran (10)

Analysis: The biggest question with this unit is how does the team feel about Mailata going forward. If he is there left tackle of the future, then a top-flight rookie isn’t needed. If he isn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles take a left tackle very early on in the draft. Either way, a rookie is going to be added to this group, and a veteran will as well. The depth on offensive line is not great right now. 

Defensive line (2018: 9): Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Bruce Hector, Rookie, Rookie (9)

Analysis: The two biggest questions along the defensive line are what is going to happen with Chris Long and who can they find to play backup defensive tackle. At this point, with Curry now on the roster, the safe bet is probably leaving Long off the team — although that would be a big blow to the unit. As for defensive tackle, it wouldn’t be surprising if the top two backups at the position are not yet on the roster. Look for the team to focus on the defensive tackle position early and often in the draft. 

Linebackers (2018: 5): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort (4)

Analysis: The Eagles do not value the line backer position and will likely only have two on the field at a time for the majority of the season — if not just one. That means they won’t be carrying many on the roster, except for key contributors on special teams like Gerry and Fort.

Cornerbacks (2018: 5): Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Rasul Douglas (6)

Analysis: The question at this position isn’t who will be on the roster, but who will be playing and at what position. Will the Eagles gives Douglas a legit shot at starting? Will Maddox be at cornerback or safety? Will LeBlanc be the starting nickel — and when will Darby be ready? It also wouldn’t be surprising if the team added a cornerback in the draft — which means one of those players could be on the trading block. 

Safeties (2018: 4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Rookie (4)

Analysis: Sendejo feels like a lock to make the roster and fill the same role as Corey Graham did last season. The Eagles will also likely add a rookie safety fairly early on in the draft to develop for 2020. 

Special teams (2018: 3): Cam Johnston, Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato (3)

Analysis: As always, the special teams are the easiest part of the roster to project — which isn’t something the Eagles shouldn’t take for granted. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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