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Eagles 53-man roster prediction as OTAs begin

Eliot Shorr-Parks
April 15, 2019 - 8:28 am

The 2019 season is here -- kind of. 

For the first time since their 2018 season came to a close in New Orleans, the Eagles will hold official team activities on Monday at the NovaCare Complex for the start of the 2019 OTAs. The sessions are voluntary, but it would be surprising if there isn't a large portion of the roster in the building. 

This is a crucial offseason for the Eagles, with plenty of questions to be answered on their roster and plenty of young players fighting for jobs. Of the 53-roster spots, only 35-or-so should be considered locks, meaning that there are nearly 20 spots up for grabs. 

So what might the Eagles’ 53-man roster look like heading into OTAs ?

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. Chances are a quarterback will be kept on the practice squad, however. 

Running back (2018: 4): Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott (5)

Analysis: The trade for Jordan Howard likely knocked one running back off the roster. The question is who, especially with a rookie likely to be added to this group as well. It is possible that Clement, Adams and Smallwood will be fighting for two roster spots, especially if Darren Sproles is brought back. For now, however, the power rankings among those three likely look like this -- Clement, Smallwood, Adams. 

Wide Receiver (2018: 6): Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Braxton Miller (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. This offseason will be huge for him. 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. Shelton Gibson faces an uphill battle to make the roster, and it would be surprising if his roster spot plus Miller's spot aren't taken by a rookie and a veteran signing later on. 

Tight Ends (2018: 4): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Joshua Perkins (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, bringing Rodgers back makes sense as he can be counted 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, Anthony Fabiano, Kaleb Johnson (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, Deashon Hall, Treyvon Hester (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, Tre Sullivan (4)

Analysis: Sendejo feels like a lock to make the roster and fill the same role as Corey Graham did last season, although a rookie in the first-or-second round could steal that role from him. The Eagles will almost certainly 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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