The Philadelphia Eagles have officially finalized their 53-man roster ahead of the 2023 season. This might well have been Howie Roseman’s toughest roster cutdown yet, with tough decisions facing him at every turn. As a result, the roster has been constructed slightly differently than many expected. Here are 5 things we learned from the cutdown process.
A new-look secondary?
The Eagles suffered a cruel blow to the secondary earlier in the offseason when they lost Zech McPhearson to a season-ending injury. The team had no real backup CB behind Avonte Maddox which prompted Sean Desai to get creative. The results of which are reflected in the shape of this year’s roster.
Josiah Scott AND Mehki Garner were cut from what was a once-deep cornerback position. We could see James Bradberry move inside after a few weeks of the former Giants CB being cross-trained inside. This would mean that rookie duo Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks (who made the roster!!) play on the boundary in his place.
This would be optimal for Ringo, who could get first-team reps on the outside in the event that Maddox did go down with injury. The Eagles kept throwing Zech McPhearson outside in tight pinches prior to this offseason despite his size limitations which arguably hindered his development. It looks like the Eagles have learned from their mistakes and have found a way to keep numbers light while adding depth at each spot.
James Bradberry is an all-pro corner and will easily be able to thrive inside should the need ever arise. This enables the Eagles to not only keep someone like Eli Ricks on the roster, but to ensure he can chip in at the spot he’s most comfortable.
The Eagles currently don’t have a punter
It appeared as though Arryn Siposs won the punting competition this offseason...until it didn’t. The Eagles cut their punter despite the fact he was the only one on the roster, leaving a hole that needs to be filled.
With only a week to go until the regular season starts, it’s safe to say the Birds are cutting it fine. The good news is that it’s not like there has to be a grueling schematic enrolment process, but finding a punter who yields confidence is something that should have been addressed months ago, not after a hopeless preseason.
Howie Roseman is becoming a lot more cut-throat as a GM
Conversely, Howie Roseman has shown another side to his ability as a GM. While regarded as a ruthless negotiator, he also used to have the reputation of someone who couldn’t let go of former players. Jason Peters stands as the most prominent example, but he’s certainly not the only one. Derek Barnett, for instance, was brought back over and over again despite showing next to no growth. But those days might well be behind us.
The Eagles parted ways with a few surprising players on Tuesday:
K’Von Wallace: A former fourth-round pick and prominent special teamer who looked to have finally turned the corner this offseason. His spot on the roster felt relatively secure.
Tyree Jackson: A project tight end who put together another stellar summer campaign. The Eagles opted to ride with Grant Calcaterra instead, which is something that would’ve surprised a lot of fans.
Dennis Kelly: A former Philadelphia Eagle who was thought to bring a veteran presence to the offensive line room.
These are three players who even one year ago would’ve been locks to make the roster because of either the resources the Eagles have spent on them, or their affiliation with the team.
Roseman now seems to be a lot more cut-throat when it comes to parting ways with players who just aren’t good enough, and that can only be seen as a good thing.
More help needed on special teams?
On that note, the special teams room has taken a significant hit. Players who were expected to be key contributors such as Ben Van Sumeren, Nicholas Morrow, K’Von Wallace (we can include Siposs here too) have all been waived, leaving some sizeable holes in the special teams’ room.
Whether we see more established veterans take on extra responsibilities or there are some late roster moves to be made is unclear. But the Eagles’ special teams unit is likely to be down a few key contributors come week one.
High hopes for rookies
Perhaps the most positive takeaway is that there is a real sense of confidence surrounding this year’s rookie class. The DT/EDGE spots took huge hits in roster cuts, likely because of just how impressive Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter have been this Summer. Their rapid development shot them up the depth chart and made names like DT Marvin Wilson expendable, whereas he could have easily been a depth DT just a few months ago.
The same can be said at corner as we previously mentioned, and even QB Ian Book was waived while 6th-round rookie Tanner McKee was kept on. Everywhere you look, Eagles rookies look primed to make an impact in 2023.
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