A lot has changed in just a week for the Philadelphia Eagles. We know that Howie Roseman loves to make late summer moves, but unforeseen injuries and unexpected position battles have caused more of a stir than usual. Here are my predictions as to how that shapes the current depth chart and the final roster.
|Greg Ward Jr.|
There was some strong showings at receiver last week resulting in some shuffling at the bottom, but the roster spots remain the same. There’s likely to be some debate over how many receivers the Eagles take. More often than not the front office likes to keep four tight ends on the roster, which would likely eat into the receiver position. With Richard Rodgers going down to injury, that possibility becomes even less likely. Personally, I think the sixth wide receiver — whoever that may be — has shown more than any of the backup tight ends so far this preseason.
The top three are locked in to those spots, which comes as a surprise to no one. JJAW has continued to impress despite lackluster quarterback play. He was able to stretch the field on a few occasions only to have to fight a losing fight for an under-thrown ball. His ability to “post up” on defenders has been on display early and often and will come in extremely handy in situations where the team simply needs a catch.
Mack Hollins simply brings too much to the special teams unit to be overlooked. Whether or not he becomes a feature of the offence in the regular season is yet to be seen. He’s been catching his fair share in camp and there are reports that the spot is his to lose.
Marken Michel wasn’t on the field for long last week, but didn’t have to be to showcase his shiftiness — making multiple people miss on a quick screen. It’s something different than what we saw on that 75-yard touchdown in week one. Giving small glimpses of all the aspects of his game and getting off the field early is exactly what Michel needs to do to make this roster. So far it’s been exactly according to plan.
Greg Ward Jr. came ready to play. While his athletic limitations put a cap on just how effective he can be in the NFL, there’s no doubting his desire. That, coupled with his football IQ and scout team versatility should put him on top of the bottom slots. However, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher report that Ward is a long shot to make the roster. Because Michel and Ward have such similar skill sets, Charles Johnson is likely next in line for the final spot.
Agudosi and Johnson will likely be fighting tooth and nail until week four. Those two are the most similar in terms of what they bring to the offence. Although Johnson finally had some success against the Jags, Agudosi made more memorable plays. Carleton also has the edge in age, which might be the deciding factor for a practice squad slot. If the Eagles decide to take another receiver on the final roster, Johnson’s experience should lift him above Agudosi.
|Jason Peters||Lane Johnson|
|Andre Dillard||Halapoulivaati Vaitai|
|Brett Toth||Jordan Mailata|
Ryan Bates is out of the picture after being swapped for Eli Harold, but the Eagles will welcome Brett Toth to fill his boots. Toth is a physical specimen, but has spent some time away from football and will likely be a project for coach Jeff Stoutland. He’s a long shot to make the roster, but could easily stick to the practice squad.
The major difference in this group is that Jordan Mailata is playing himself into a roster spot. It’s not so much that he has earned a backup role on this incredibly talented roster, but that there’s a slim chance if any that the Eagles would be able to retain him if he were to be released. He has been incredibly impressive at camp and has held his own in two preseason games.
Vaitai being pencilled in as a guard for the time being facilitates the extra tackle. However, I still believe, if Lane was to miss any time that it would be Vaitai filling the position over Mailata. This could change in an instant, however. The coaching staff has not been happy with Vaitai’s up and down play.
Andre Dillard was a tad more human this week. He was caught offside and had more trouble dismantling the Jacksonville ends. It’s all part of the process. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dillard do some more cross-training at guard as well, with the uncertainty in the interior.
|Isaac Seumalo||Jason Kelce||Brandon Brooks|
|Stefen Wisniewski||Nate Herbig||Halapoulivaati Vaitai|
|Anthony Fabiano||Keegan Render||Matt Pryor|
|Sua Opeta||Nate Herbig|
I think the only player so far to perhaps play themselves out of a roster spot is Stefen Wisniewski. With all the shuffling the offensive line has had, the team needed him to show he had what it takes at center. So far, he has failed miserably and was out-snapped by both Fabiano and Render. Wis has even been getting less run at center in practice. It’s not a good sign for the veteran lineman. The Eagles may keep him as a veteran option at swing guard, but with the news that Brandon Brooks should be okay early on in the season its becoming less likely.
On Brooks, Caplan and Mosher reported that it’s no longer likely that he’ll be ready for week 1. It’s not impossible, but the Eagles won’t rush their star guard back into the lineup.
Seumalo has proven he can hold his own if Kelce misses any time. Apparently, the coaching staff is determined to keep Seumalo at guard, but an injury to Kelce would likely force their hand. None of the other options on the roster have proven reliable.
The Eagles gave Nate Herbig a lot more time against Jacksonville and seem to be getting tired of Matt Pryor‘s mental mistakes. Herbig has also been getting chances at center. Could his versatility land him a roster spot? He and T.J. Edwards are guaranteed the most money of any undrafted rookie. Any and all of the young prospects are fully capable of challenging for a practice squad spot.
When it’s all said and done, don’t be surprised if the Eagles turn to the waiver wire to add another interior lineman with Wisniewki being the first on the block.
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