Five things we learned from how the Eagles built their 53-man roster

Eagles quez watkins
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) celebrates his touchdown with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during the preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Now that the Eagles have cut down their roster to 53, the team will begin to prepare for their week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. In the process of the cutdown, there were plenty of surprises that left fans and media members with plenty to talk about. Here are five takeaways from yesterday’s dramatic cut-down.

The Sirianni Project

The Eagles let go of both Travis Fulgham and John Hightower in favor of J.J Arcega-Whiteside. While this seems like a foolish move on the surface, you have to look beneath the surface

The Eagles brass hired Sirianni who was known for developing players and bringing the beat out of them. JJAW was personally selected in the second round by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. What better way to impress your boss than to turn a pumpkin into a chariot within your first year?

Now I’m not saying JJAW is the next great thing but with Sirianni by his side, there’s no doubt that we’ll see an improvement in JJAW’s game. He’ll be a big factor in special teams and expect him to get more usage in the red zone area but we may be seeing JJAW turn the corner pretty soon.

Development is Key

The Eagles kept all of their rookies except one, JaCoby Stevens. I’m sure the assumption is that Stevens will land on the practice squad but there’s no such thing as a guarantee in the NFL.

In recent years, the Eagles have let go of young talent in favor of veterans. For example, the fact that they dropped Casey Toohill in favor of keeping Alshon Jeffery on the roster. They ended up losing Toohill to the football team out in Washington.

It seems that Howie and company have learned from their mistakes. This roster has a significant amount of youth within it that the coaching staff will be looking to develop. Most teams give their young guys a significant shot every year. The previous coaching staff wasn’t so friendly to that idea unless you could produce it right away. Developing these young guys will be a huge priority for Sirianni in his rookie season.

All about the trenches

The Eagles are more than stacked on both the defensive line and offensive line. The team has been plagued by injuries in both parties for the last several seasons. Now it seems that they’ve added enough insurance to avoid any setbacks this season. There’s also a telling sign within the number of linebackers that they let. Several of them may be used to rush the passer and bring the heat on the offensive line.

Only three running backs….for now

The team is currently prepared to start the season with only three running backs. They have their three-down back in Miles Sanders, their receiving back in Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott. To my surprise, there is no bruising back. The team previously waived Kerryon Johnson earlier in the offseason and have now waived Jordan Howard. I do believe the team will bring back Howard once they settle who will end up on IR but for now it’s a risky approach to have only three backs.

A secondary thought

Another position with a lack of depth is cornerback. The team is only going in with Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, and Josiah Scott. They truly only have two proven corners on the roster, an inconsistent Avonte Maddox, and two young guys. That’s not an ideal plan when this team has been plagued at that position for the last several years. It’s going to be interesting to see who they add within the next day or two to help in the secondary.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire