Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Which preseason heroes make the cut?

NFL: OCT 18 Ravens at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Quez Watkins (80) warms up during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles have completed their preseason schedule and have a few days to trim their 80-man roster down to 53. That will be every part as difficult as it sounds with such a young team, but here’s one last prediction as to how this year’s Eagles roster will look by the start of the regular season.

Quarterbacks: 3 (3)

Jalen HurtsJoe Flacco, Gardner Minshew

While the top of the depth chart is locked in, the Eagles made a surprising move yesterday in trading for Jags QB Gardner Minshew. Now in his third year, the former sixth-round pick was always going to be fighting an uphill battle against Trevor Lawrence, but the Birds were able to poach him for a conditional sixth-rounder, bringing a developmental arm who already has 23 starts to his name, manages games pretty well, and can potentially fill the QB2 role next year if Joe Flacco moves on.

Running backs: 4 (7)

Miles SandersKenny Gainwell, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott

The running back picture has been set for quite some time now and despite best efforts from players like Elijah Holyfield, it remains unchanged. There’s now a lot of optimism surrounding Kenny Gainwell after a string of really strong preseason outings, bringing some much-needed versatility to the backfield.

Offensive linemen: 10 (17)

Jordan MailataIsaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Sua OpetaAndre DillardJack DriscollNate Herbig, Brett Toth

Andre Dillard’s fall from grace may see him dropped into trade conversations over the coming weeks, but the offensive line has a pretty strong spine to carry into the regular season. Brett Toth looked solid in the preseason finale and should easily make the roster. Dickerson is probably going to start on PUP, meaning that Sua Opeta will have a chance to act as the primary backup behind Jason Kelce until the rookie returns.

Tight ends: 3 (20)

Zach Ertz, Dallas GoedertRichard Rodgers

Jack Stoll had a quiet outing in the preseason finale, giving some confidence that he should safely clear waivers and land on the practice squad. The absence of Tyree Jackson means that there’s no real push to keep four tight ends on the roster, and with two of the three being kept being consensus top-10 at their position, there’s no need to panic here. Richard Rodgers did a great job of holding the fort last year through injuries and will act as a very serviceable backup to the top tandem.

Wide receivers: 6 (26)

DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor,  Quez Watkins, Greg Ward, John Hightower, J.J Arcega-Whiteside

The top five wideouts at the position should be pretty locked in at this point. Hightower would be the lone exception having missed a chunk of camp with injury, but his work beforehand and brief preseason appearance should re-enforce the belief of what coaches knew they had in him – a speedster and crisp route-runner who can work behind Reagor at the Z spot.

The real coin-flip here is a choice between JJAW and Travis Fulgham. My heart says Fulgham makes the cut because of his profound route-running, but a poor preseason finale and quiet summer may have lowered his stock to a point where the tiniest sign of life from a player the team invested a second-round pick into might be enough to unseat him.

Defensive tackle: 5 (31)

Fletcher CoxJavon Hargrave, Milton Williams,T.Y McGill, Marlon Tuipulotu

This has probably been one of the more stable positions on the roster this offseason, but a late surge from seven-year vet T.Y McGill has seen him jump Hassan Ridgeway to snatch a vital DT4 spot.

Defensive end: 5 (36)

Brandon GrahamDerek Barnett, Ryan KerriganJosh Sweat, Tarron Jackson

A late explosion from rookie Tarron Jackson might have made him too much of a risk to place on waivers, forcing his way onto the final-53 at the last second. He’ll join the back-end of a stable rotation but if Derek Barnett is moved in a trade at all, he could see some significant playing time.

Linebacker: 5 (41)

Eric WilsonAlex Singleton,JaCoby Stevens, Patrick Johnson, Genard Avery

Patrick Johnson has had a pretty tame offseason, but his flashes during preseason might have shown more upside than the idea of keeping T.J Edwards, although they play different spots.

His spot on the roster is further guaranteed because Davion Taylor is still working through a calf injury, meaning the Eagles could use some extra depth on the outside. They can always push Johnson to the practice squad at a later date when Taylor returns.

Cornerback: 5 (46)

Darius SlayAvonte MaddoxZech McPhearson, Steven Nelson, Kevon Seymour

This comes down to positional depth. Josiah Scott is probably more deserving of a spot than Kevon Seymour, but keeping him would mean keeping three nickel corners on the roster. McPhearson has been trialed outside this Summer with varying results, but the safest bet is to keep a taller, faster corner who can handle life on the boundary more comfortably in a pinch. That man is Kevon Seymour, who notched his first pick of preseason on Friday.

Safety: 4 (50)

Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K’Von WallaceAndrew Adams

Andrew Adams might have struggled on Friday, but with McLeod still recovering from an ACL injury, the Safety spot again remains unchanged.

Special teams: 3 (53)

Arryn SipossJake Elliott, Rick Lovato

No surprises here, but while Siposs has been serviceable in preseason (and even made a tackle), you can’t help but miss Cameron Johnston.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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