After 12 practices of highs, lows, and injury scares, the Eagles will conclude training camp behind closed doors. One week is all that separates players on the roster bubble from finding out if they’ve done enough to make the team, or will be searching for a new home. Here’s a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ roster bubble battles.
Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins
The triple-threat skirmish over a potential RB4 spot has been an exciting element of Training Camp this year. Holyfield seems to be leading the charge, with the rapid open-space playmaker Adrian Killins bringing a totally different element to the table. It all comes down to what the Eagles value most from their fourth running back, with one providing Thunder, and the other providing lightning. At the very least, both should make the practice squad.
Jordan Mailata, Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig, Luke Juriga
The offensive line has taken quite the hit when it comes to injuries this offseason, boosting the odds of wildcards making the roster tenfold.
Jordan Mailata will still find himself struggling against the current however, with the project lineman continuing to be bulldozed by defensive ends in camp.
Opeta and Herbig will have their value determined by a domino effect of whatever happens at Left Tackle. The more Matt Pryor works on that side to stop Jason Peters receiving a re-worked contract, the more chance that one of the two ends up being pushed up the depth chart as a primary backup guard.
Juriga’s value as a backup center will depend on the versatility and playing level of other pieces around him such as Jack Driscoll, a rookie tackle who could well be being groomed to become an heir to Kelce’s throne.
In summary: I have no idea how this will pan out. It’s all a Hurricane waiting to happen.
Deontay Burnett, Marcus Green
Burnett has been one of the Summer’s most pleasant surprises. After a brief flash at the end of last season, the former New York Jet has done nothing but impress. The issue he’s facing is one of there already being too many chefs in the kitchen. Just look at how long it took Greg Ward Jr. to crack the main roster! At the very least, he should have earned a practice squad spot, but anything beyond that will depend on how much of an impact he’s had on the coaches.
As for Marcus Green, the Eagles worked hard to get him back into the building. A former sixth-round pick of the Falcons, Green was cut by the Eagles earlier this offseason but returned to the City with a bang. He’s more of a longshot than Burnett, but never say never.
Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman, Genard Avery
Defensive end is a tricky spot to judge right now. The top-4 is already locked in, but that EDGE5 role will go to the winner of a three-man shootout.
In one corner, Shareef Miller was a fourth-round pick one year ago who was expected to make a big jump this Summer. That jump is more of a subtle step and Miller has been unable to assert himself. The Eagles may seek to keep him on the practice squad but it’s a risk to lose that kind of draft investment.
What doesn’t help is that once again, Joe Ostman has had an electric Summer. After a locked roster spot was ripped away due to a torn ACL last year, he hasn’t missed a beat this Summer. Ostman is clearly the lead contender, but the lack of financial ties to his name may prompt the Eagles to keep their scout team star where he earned that reputation.
Then, there’s Genard Avery. The Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick to acquire his services at last year’s trade deadline and he had a strong first camp in Philadelphia. Now in his third year and with progress looking encouraging, Avery suffered an injury setback. This may push the Eagles to use an ‘IR stash’ tactic.
There’s a clear winner in this battle, but whether or not that’s reflected in the roster decisions will come down to the opinions of the front office and coaching staff, as well as one more week of practice behind closed doors.
T.Y McGill, Anthony Rush, Raequan Williams
The Eagles have a ferocious DT rotation, but whether or not they take a fifth will depend on several factors. If they do opt to go down that route, look for pride of this year’s UDFA class, Raequan Williams to be the name they call on.
UAB’s Anthony Rush made some nice plays in a pinch last year and brings a skill-set and frame that can swallow double teams with ease. He may be out in the cold for now and firmly on the practice squad, but the upside for a 53-sneak-on is there.
McGill was signed by the Eagles recently and is someway back in this race but should still be considered.
Oddly, I think every Eagles linebacker currently on the roster should make it. There are only 6, depth and experience are thin, and those lower on the depth chart such as Alex Singleton and Duke Riley have huge special teams upside.
Sidney Jones, Trevor Williams, Rasul Douglas
Another triple threat, these three names will be worth paying close attention to as camp winds down. Sidney Jones has missed way too many practices this Summer to a point where Trevor Williams was brought back as an insurance policy. Jones is once again fighting with his back to the wall and needs a ridiculously strong final week to secure his future.
Rasul Douglas has had a strong offseason with notable footwork improvements, but will that be enough to win over the favor of a coaching staff who have consistently left him out in the cold?
If you can’t make the club in the tub, Sidney Jones is in trouble. Rasul Douglas is in the tub but the coaching staff almost forget he exists, and Trevor Williams might just gatecrash the party. Fascinating.
Marcus Epps, Grayland Arnold
Epps will be relying on his special teams ability to make the cut here but his offseason has hardly been eye-catching.
Grayland Arnold will be hoping to punch above his weight class and sneak onto the final 53. The Safety room is crowded right now, but the Birds are high on the Baylor product and have a flurry of one-year deals to manage. The Practice Squad is calling, but maybe Arnold can turn some more heads.