Preseason is officially over and we’re now just six days from the Eagles regular season opener against Atlanta. The road to defending their Super Bowl crown begins right now, but first, we have go through the toughest weekend of the year. Over 1,000 current NFL players will by unemployed by Saturday due to roster cuts. Who of the Eagles 90-man roster has done enough to avoid that cruel blow?
Quarterbacks 3 (3)
Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
Despite the huge question marks surrounding the starter next week, the formation of the position has remained the same throughout camp. No shocks here, this is still a team that belongs to Carson Wentz, will be supported by a Super Bowl MVP and has a potential backup in the making, waiting in the wings.
Running back 4 (7)
Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Matt Jones
Well, the ‘no shock’ run was over quickly. I know there are a lot of people out there who would be against the decision to keep Matt Jones because of his fumbling history, both with the Eagles and before he was signed and you’re absolutely right to have those concerns. But in an offseason where that 4th RB spot has been dangling for weeks, Jones was the first back to step up and take over a game. Even if it was against backups, Jones looked sharp and dominant both in the run and the passing game on Thursday night. By keeping Jones, the Eagles give Ajayi some ‘workhorse’ support and would be able to sneak Pumphrey and Adams onto the practice squad, with a little luck.
Offensive line 10 (17)
Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Matt Pryor, Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata
I disagree with the premise that Matt Pryor will not make this team. Isaac Seumalo has shown plenty of versatility, but hasn’t really demonstrated strength in any particular area and in late August, he’s still sailing snaps over a quarterbacks head. Pryor gives the Eagles an insurance policy and acts as a much younger talent with a higher ceiling than Chance Warmack. Jordan Mailata will also stick onto the roster as its become clear his ceiling is way too high to risk exposing to the waiver wire.
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Tight end 3 (20)
Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers
Aside from QB, this may be the most secure position on the roster. An elite receiving tight end, a red zone nightmare and a blocking tight end to replace the now-retiring Brent Celek.
Wide receiver 6 (26)
Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Shelton Gibson, Mack Hollins, DeAndre Carter
Jeffery’s injury is a huge blow to the Eagles receiving corps, but the rest of the group don’t exactly come into this season flying high. Agholor, Wallace and Hollins have all endured injury setbacks this offseason, prompting the Eagles to carry an extra wideout here. That man is DeAndre Carter, who stole the show during preseason and was consistently impressive.
Defensive tackle 4 (31)
Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector
Without Jernigan, the Eagles need some run-defense reenforcement and the most consistent of the depth defensive tackles this offseason as been Bruce Hector. Make no mistake, Vaeao and Hector are key cogs in this defensive machine and could see plenty of action.
Defensive end 5 (36)
Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Josh Sweat
No real surprises here, the Eagles carry enough for 2.5 rotations of defensive ends and bring enough variety in terms of skillset to provide matchup nightmares each and every time. Josh Sweat hasn’t really had a great offseason however and could be a slight wildcard here, especially after Steven Means dropped the hammer during preseason once again.
Linebacker 4 (40)
Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry
The Eagles go a little lighter at linebacker, confident that the transition to a nickel-based defense will relieve them of the need for an elite OLB. Instead, Gerry and Grugier-Hill will split reps depending on the situation, leaving Hicks and Bradham to clean up the mess left behind by the Eagles front four.
One thing to note is that due to Bradham’s week one suspension, the Eagles May leave him off the roster, giving someone like Joe Walker that spot before moving pieces around a week later.
Cornerback 5 (45)
Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas
The cornerback corps is a little lighter than expected, but all of the big names are present and accounted for. Jones and Maddox will likely share nickel responsibilities depending on what the offense show, with Douglas backing up the CB1/2 spots.
Safety 5 (50)
Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan, Chris Maragos
The re-signing of Corey Graham certainly added some uncertainty over how many players the Eagles will carry into this season and Maragos is still sat on the ‘PUP’ list. I think with Jeffery being activated later today, Maragos could follow suit. If not, expect Jeremy Reaves to sneak onto the bottom after an explosive preseason finale.
Specialists 3 (53)
Cameron Johnston, Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato
Cameron the ‘Cannon’ Johnston has my heart. No more needs to be said.
S Jeremy Reaves
RB Donnell Pumphrey
DT Elijah Qualls
LB Kyle Wilson
QB Christian Hackenberg
TE Billy Brown
OL Aaron Evans
DE Joe Ostman
CB Chandon Sullivan
WR Tim Wilson
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports