It’s that time of the year folks! A time when the first notes of televised football are in the air and teams are beginning to release hints of what’s to come: regular season football. With that, your Philadelphia Eagles released the team’s first Unofficial Depth Chart to the public, compiled by the PR team.
Our fearless leader Liam Jenkins has already dove into a position-by-position analysis of the listing, which you can check out here:
Since LJ has already broken down each position in detail, and noted some names to be on the lookout for this Thursday night, let’s look at some names that are on the rise heading into the preseason clash with Tennessee. Based on the teasing news we’ve heard out of training camp, which names are on and upward trend, and which are listed higher than expected? Let’s start at the top.
Better believe the rookie will be given every opportunity to showcase his skill set this preseason. The big news here is that it’s his name listed above that of Shelton Gibson. It was to be expected, but to see that he’s been given the leg up so early in the process is great news for his development.
Liam mentioned how much it means for the first-round pick to be the sole backup to the legend Jason Peters. Ryan Bates is no slouch, but will likely not make the final-53. What this hopefully means is that the coaching staff has seen a big improvement into Dillard’s run blocking, which was a knock on him coming out of college. Expect to see a lot of Dillard on Thursday.
A favorite here at PSN, seeing Michel’s name second in the slot is an overdue culmination of all the positive news about him coming out of camp. He does everything and will get plenty of chances to stick to the roster all preseason. Can he do what preseason legend Paul Turner did not all those years ago?
It’s hard not to read into Hollins being way up on the depth chart despite barely touching the field since last fall. One thing is for certain, the coaching staff loves his upside. Just pop on the tape of him torching the Redskins defence two seasons ago and you’ll understand why. Can he secure his spot with Charles Johnson biting at his heels? A second spot on the unofficial depth chart would suggest the coaching staff will give him a long leash to try.
I cannot wait — let me just say that much. Despite some nagging offseason injuries, there will be no stopping Boobie season in Philly. The Eagles coaching staff clearly have no intention of keeping Mr. Sanders caged up to start the season, although they may pull him early. Howie Roseman spent a 2nd round selection on him, so why is a second-place seeding on the depth chart a big deal? With the amount of young, talented runners on the roster, Dougy P could easily have let Sanders ease into the rotation, especially following a tumultuous summer. It won’t be long before Sanders is the feature back in Philly.
The defensive line grouping is essentially as expected. There has been plenty of good news about Josh Sweat, but he will not be ousting BG for snaps any time soon. Bradham is entrenched as a starter in the Philly defense, so seeing him as the number one MLB shouldn’t come as any surprise — so why the rise?
Until last season, Bradham had spent most of his time on the outside before moving inside last season with Jordan Hicks’ injuries. It’s a position he is very familiar with, but hadn’t manned it full-time. This summer the Eagles added Zach Brown to the roster — an MLB through and through. Instead of pushing Bradham back to the outside, it looks as if the Eagles will ask Brown to work the weak-side of the defense. That means the team is very comfortable with Bradham running the front, even with him missing time this offseason.
It looks as if Jones is finally turning into the player the Eagles thought he would be. After struggling to stay healthy for the past two season, Sidney Jones looks to be in the shape of his career right now. Not only that but he seems to be coming into his own as of late. He’s been moved from the outside corner to the nickel corner consistently this offseason, he looks like he’s ready to conquer both positions! If the former second round pick can transform into the player that the Eagles believe he can be then Darby and Mills may have an uphill battle ahead of them.
With Jalen Mills on the PUP-list, this was really Maddox’s spot to lose. However, we’ve all seen what Rasul Douglas can do when given the opportunity, and Sidney Jones wasn’t a first-round talent for nothing. It will now be Maddox’s job to lose until the return — and quite possibly longer — of Mills. It’s worth mentioning that all of the young promising corners on the roster could be mentioned in this section. Apart from Cre’von Leblanc’s unfortunate Lisfranc injury, and some DeSean Jackson burn wounds, there has been nothing but good news emerging from camp about the secondary.
Say what you will, but the man has earned the right to have his name slotted behind the great Malcolm Jenkins. Despite some early growing pains, Tre has outperformed every expectation. From the bone-crunching hit he laid in a preseason game against the Packers to being PFF’s top-rated playoff safety — Sullivan’s short journey with the Eagles has been nothing less than inspiring. Beating Blake Countess out for the backup position — a veteran player with ties to the system — is a great sign that there is more to come.
As Darby and Mills continue to rehab, Douglas has consistently been the number two outside cornerback along with Avonte Maddox. He’s been receiving nothing but praise all offseason with his play in the field. Rasul Douglas seems primed for a breakout season depending on the amount of playing time he gets. He finished last season on a high note after struggling to find his niche throughout his first couple of starts. Let’s not forget that transformation he’s done to put his body into better shape. Known to be a ball hawk and one of the top tacklers on this defense, it may be time for his game to come full circle.
Sweat is coming off a season that was cut short due to injury. Now he’s finally fully healthy and is more than prepared for the Eagles to call his number. He’s added on 20 pounds but has also said that in doing so he feels more explosive than ever. With Chris Long being retired and after the Joe Ostman injury, Sweat may have an open lane for him to travel on the road to a breakout year. Lane Johnson has even gone as far as comparing Sweat to Jadaveon Clooney in regards to his speed. The Eagles are going to need Sweat to produce at a high level this offseason if they’re looking to make a run. The depth around the D-line will be something to keep an eye on.
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