Jenkins’ Eagles 53-man roster prediction: OTA edition

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It’s that time again. OTA’s are underway and analysts across the league are giving their very early takes on who will and won’t make the roster of the Super Bowl champions. We’d be silly not to join in, right? Here’s my first prediction as to how I see the Eagles roster battles shaking out?

 

Quarterback: 3 (3) Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld

No surprises here. The real question is whether or not Carson Wentz will be ready to start in week one, but this shouldn’t impact his placing on the roster or the depth chart. Nick Foles is the clear backup, with Nate Sudfeld arguably being his successor should Foles find a starting job at the end of this season. This may well be the most stable position grouping on the roster.

 

Running back: 5 (8) Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Donnell Pumphrey, Matt Jones

With Darren Sproles back in the mix, the running back picture has changed drastically. However, Pumphrey’s recent bulk-up and inspired OTA performance may provide enough improvement to earn him a role on the depth chart to learn behind one of the best dual-threat backs in NFL history. Matt Jones takes Blount’s short-yardage and bruising role behind the duo of Ajayi and Clement who will be the featured duo.

 

Offensive line: 8 (16) Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Isaac Seumalo

There’s plenty of discussion around the depth at interior guard, especially given that Seumalo and Warmack both struggled last year. TCU’s Vaitai and Pryor are currently the two biggest ‘depth locks’ in my mind, with the rookie already gaining experience at both guard and tackle during OTA’s. Seumalo will act as Kelce’s backup at center, while Pryor will sit behind Wisniewski and Brooks. The remaining bulk of depth comes in the way of developmental talent on the practice squad.

 

Tight end: 4 (20) Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Billy Brown

Surprisingly, the Eagles go back to their four tight end shape which was last adopted when Trey Burton was an undrafted free agent, lining up behind Celek, Ertz and James Casey. Now, with a veteran in Rodgers to fill Celek’s role, a budding rookie in Goedert and an elite receiving threat in Ertz, the Eagles have the perfect structure to bring Billy Brown up form the practice squad.

 

Wide receiver: 6 (26) Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Markus Wheaton

Wide receiver is another position which holds plenty of question marks, but both of last year’s rookies should comfortable make the roster, with Markus Wheaton forcing his way onto the depth chart after a strong offseason.

 

Defensive line: 9 (35) Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls, Haloti Ngata, Michael Bennett, Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Chris Long

Timmy Jernigan will more than likely be placed on IR to start the year, leaving the Eagles paper thin at DT. Vaeao and Qualls will join Ngata as the rotational pieces to fill that void, while a five-strong DE rotation looks even more lethal than it did one year oaf, with the talents of Josh Sweat and Michael Bennett entering the fray.

 

Linebacker: 6 (41) Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, Corey Nelson, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Joe Walker

Surprisingly, the Eagles don’t add some extra depth after losing Kendricks and Worrilow. The belief is that Nelson can step up to the plate in a big way, giving the Eagles a starting trio fo tremendous upside, with some versatile depth that invokes special teams excellence. The amount of nickel formations ran by Jim Schwartz will certainly lighten the load for this unit.

 

Cornerback: 5 (48) Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas

There could be some room for change at this position, but the starting trio should be fairly locked in. What isn’t, however, is where they’ll play. The battle for nickel corner could open a whole new can of worms, but Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas should provide enough versatility to help inside, outside and over the top if called upon, backing up a very strong unit.

 

Safety: 4 (50) Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jeremy Reaves, Tre Sullivan

The Eagles need to figure out who will be the 3rd/4th safeties on the roster as it’s one of the key positions to unlocking the potential in this Jim Schwartz defense. Sullivan is primed for another strong offseason and Reaves has shown enough during his days at South Alabama to at least make some training camp noise, forcing his way onto the roster.

 

Specialists: 3 (53)  Cameron Johnston, Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato

Super Jake Elliott returns and will be joined by Cameron Johnston, who will replace Donnie Jones as he has before, and returning long-snapper, Rick Lovato. Again, no shocks here.

 

Practice squad:
Jordan Mailata (OL)
Ian Park (OL)
Josh Adams (RB)
Stephen Roberts (S)
Tim Wilson (WR)
Asantay Brown (LB)
Bruce Hector (DT)
De’Vante Bausby (CB)
Joe Ostman (DE)
Chandon Sullivan (CB)

What do you make of this roster prediction? Is there someone we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

 

Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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