Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Surprising decisions inbound?

LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 15: Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) runs for a first down and is brought down by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) on December 15, 2019, at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

With just one more preseason game until we turn our attention to regular season football, there are some big decisions to be made when it comes to formatting the Eagles roster. How many wideouts do they keep? Which preseason standouts make the cut? Here’s one more projection at how the roster could end up looking.

Quarterbacks: 3 (3)

Jalen HurtsJoe FlaccoNick Mullens

While it’s debatable that neither Flacco nor Mullens have proven enough to back up Jalen Hurts, the reality is that both are likely to make the final roster in the 3-QB setup that is common in the NFL. Unless the team decide to surprisingly waive Mullens and bring on an arm for the final week of preseason, the picture is likely going to remain unchanged.

Running backs: 4 (7)

Miles SandersKenny Gainwell, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott

Jason Huntley is probably the running back best positioned to make a run at a spot on the very back end of the depth chart, but I think it’s unlikely at this point. Rookie RB Kenny Gainwell has made the most of his preseason reps to secure the RB2 spot behind Miles Sanders, and no Kerryon Johnson makes it an easy decision to keep Jordan Howard.

Offensive linemen: 10 (17)

Jordan MailataIsaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson (Or Sua Opeta), Andre DillardJack DriscollNate Herbig, Brett Toth

There’s been no change on the offensive line front through the majority of camp. Unless Dickerson starts the season on the NFI list (giving him until week 7 to return), this is probably what we’re going to be looking at. In the event Dickerson does start the season away from the line up, expect Sua Opeta, who has been seeing plenty of preseason action at center, to take his spot.

Army’s Brett Toth has leapfrogged players like LeRaven Clark to secure himself a spot on the final-53 as well after some quietly confident preseason outings.

Tight ends: 3 (20)

Zach Ertz, Dallas GoedertRichard Rodgers

Tyree Jackson’s injury makes this conversation a little easier to have. The Eagles will keep their three most experienced tight ends on the roster and utilize the practice squad to stash under-the-radar talent. Zach Ertz is going to start in week one. He wasn’t traded during the NFL Draft when his value was at its peak, he’s not going to be moved now with teams who previously needed a tight end having filled the void.

Wide receivers: 6 (26)

DeVonta Smith, Jalen ReagorJohn HightowerTravis FulghamQuez Watkins, Greg Ward

Instead of a fourth tight end, the Eagles are able to carry an extra wide receiver, and there may be no better option than the team’s most reliable pair of hands over the past two years – Greg Ward. His presence would mean that the Eagles have 2 options at each WR spot, giving them a diverse pool of skill sets to choose from throughout the season.

Defensive tackle: 5 (31)

Fletcher CoxJavon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Hassan Ridgeway, Marlon Tuipulotu

It’s getting a bit tricky to predict what will happen towards the bottom of the depth chart, but after a really strong Summer, it would be disrespectful not to give T.Y McGill the roster spot over Hassan Ridgeway, who has done little to retain his spot in the rotation.

Defensive end: 4 (35)

Brandon GrahamDerek Barnett, Ryan KerriganJosh Sweat

Tarron Jackson has flashed during preseason but it’s not enough to sneak onto the back of the rotation. It probably would be in the event that DT Milton Williams wasn’t lining up at DE and stealing the spotlight throughout, but that’s not the case. Williams’ versatility will be huge for the Eagles this year and means that they can run light at defensive end, bolstering another position in the process.

Linebacker: 5 (40)

Eric WilsonAlex Singleton, Davion Taylor, JaCoby Stevens, T.J Edwards

It’s tough to say who the extra linebacker should be, but if we’re going off of last week’s terrible loss to the Patriots, then T.J Edwards was the best of the bunch. Flying around the field, Edwards nearly hauled in a leaping interception but fell just short of the mark. The final roster spot is something he should have a much better chance of snatching.

Cornerback: 6 (46)

Darius SlayAvonte MaddoxZech McPhearson, Steven Nelson, Josiah Scott, Kevon Seymour

This is the same projection as last week, but we now have the luxury of being able to add an extra corner. It’s just as well given that rookie CB Zech McPhearson was bullied on the outside against New England. While he may grow into a boundary role in time, the Eagles need an insurance policy in the event Slay or Nelson go down, and out of a bad bunch, Kevon Seymour may be the player with the most upside.

I’ve been bullish on Seymour for quite some time now and he finally started to make some waves during Thursday’s loss. If he can build on that momentum this week through joint practices, the decision will be that much easier to make.

Safety: 4 (50)

Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K’Von WallaceAndrew Adams

No surprises here. Rodney McLeood will likely start the season away from the sidelines, giving the Eagles time to see what hey have in Marcus Epps. Upon McLeod’s return, they may even end up pushing someone like Seymour down to the practice squad providing Epps can continue to trend in the right direction.

Special teams: 3 (53)

Arryn SipossJake Elliott, Rick Lovato

Jake Elliott’s injury seems to be minor so he should be in no danger of missing the start of the season, but it’s a situation worth monitoring. Outside of that, it’s situation normal.

Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)