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Eagles 53-man roster: Prediction after minicamp

Eliot Shorr-Parks
June 14, 2019 - 8:22 am

The next time the Eagles take the field, training camp will be here, and the 2019 season will be right around the corner. 

That means both OTAs and minicamp are officially in the rear-view mirror, a two-month stretch that saw players both help and hurt their chances of making the roster. 

So who would be on the team if they made cuts today?

Here is a guess at what the Eagles’ 53-man roster might look like right now:

Quarterback: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld (2)

Analysis: We all know Wentz is going to be here — and that won’t be changing anytime soon after being handed the most guaranteed money in NFL history. The question is whether the Eagles keep a third. The answer to that questions comes down not whether or not they feel they can get Clayton Thorson through waivers and onto the practice squad. Of all the positions, you have to wonder if Joe Douglas being in New York now changes the Eagles’ mindset on Thorson. If Douglas liked Thorson, he very well could poach him off the waiver wire to develop with the Jets. Only the Eagles know the answer to that, and they might not be willing to risk it, but with so many other positions on the roster where they need to keep extra players, having three quarterbacks is going to be tough. 

Running back: Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Miles Sanders, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott (5)

Analysis: Sanders missing essentially the entire offseason — almost all of OTAs and all of the minicamp — is far from ideal. Both head coach Doug Pederson and running back coach Duce Staley have admitted that. Sanders missing time won’t impact his roster spot, but it is something to keep an eye on once training camp begins. The top three spots here — Howard, Clement and Sanders — should all be viewed as locks. Scott should as well, unless Sproles comes back. The real question here is Smallwood. It is possible he is cut, but until the Eagles actually cut ties with a running back they trust to fill in when needed, I won’t be projecting it to happen. 

Wide Receiver: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Marken Michel (5)

Analysis: The top four spots at this position are locked up. The question is what happens behind Jeffery, Agholor, Jackson and Arcega-Whiteside. One receiver that has really impressed so far in the offseason workouts is Marken Michel. Michel caught nine of the 11 passes thrown his way, the most on the team, with one touchdown during the mandatory minicamp. At this point he seems to be ahead of Shelton Gibson on the depth chart, but it still fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot. 

What the Eagles do with Mack Hollins will end up dictating how much of a chance the other receivers truly have. If the Eagles view Hollins as a lock, there isn’t much competition — they will likely just keep five and call it a day. If they don’t, look for players like Michel or veteran Charles Johnson to make a real run at a roster spot. Until Hollins shows he is both healthy and can play, it is hard to put him on the active roster. 

Tight Ends: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers (3)

Analysis: The Eagles could keep four tight ends, especially with how many two-tight end sets they are going to run, but having to go heavy at other positions like running back might make that tough to do.

Offensive line: Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Stefen Wisniewski, Jordan Mailata, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Andre Dillard (10)

Analysis: One of the biggest surprises of mandatory minicamp was the anointment of Vaitai as the starting right guard in Brooks’ absence. Vaitai was fairly close to a lock, but now that he is both a top backup tackle and guard, there is no way they will be cutting him. There is an outside chance the Eagles start Brooks on the PUP to begin the season, but he would have to miss the first six games if so, and they likely won’t want to commit to losing him for that long. Other than that, the decision at backup offensive line seem fairly easy, especially now that Wisniewski is back. 

Defensive line: Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Timmy Jernigan, Shareef Miller, Hassan Ridgeway, Joe Ostman (10)

Analysis: They didn’t start the offseason as locks, but after watching this team the last six weeks, it is safe to say that both Jernigan and Ridgeway will be making the team. Jernigan has been starting all offseason with the first-team defense, and the coaches talk about Ridgeway like he is going to be a contributing player. 

At defensive end it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles go out and add a veteran player considering the lack of proven, veteran talent they have at the position. The top four ends right now seem to be Graham, Barnett, Curry and Sweat, with Ostman right behind them. Since the team has to keep Miller, the question is whether they can fit Ostman onto the roster. Considering how much they have talked him up, and how well he has played so far this spring, chances are the Eagles will make sure they find a spot for Ostman. 

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

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, especially now that they have added Brown. Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards, who has reportedly signed on as an undrafted free agent, should be in the mix for a spot. It is tough to see him overtaking Grugier-Hill, Gerry or Fort, however, and it is even tougher to see the team carrying six linebackers. 

Cornerbacks: 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. Darby coming back and doing individual work during minicamp was a surprise and seems to mean he will likely be ready by Week 1. The same is likely true for Mills. As of right now the Eagles have been starting Douglas and Maddox on the outside, with Jones coming in and Maddox sliding to the inside when they go into nickel. The Eagles will keep all six corners — and maybe even seven if Josh Hawkins continues to impress — considering how badly they want to make sure they have depth at cornerback. This position will be the most intriguing to watch at training camp. 

Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Blake Countess (4)

Analysis: The Eagles could part ways with Sendejo and add a fourth-round pick in the process, but the coaches seem to really like the veteran, and he has made some plays during the offseason. The real battle will be between Countess and Sullivan, a battle that Countess seems to have the upper hand in, despite the fact Sullivan has been getting some first-team reps. The Eagles didn’t pick up Countess off of waivers and then re-work his contract just to cut him. 

Special teams: 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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