Eagles Positional Preview: How will the 53-man roster round out for the offense?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) looking up to fans as they head back to the locker room at the end of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Eagles head into camp with only one starting position up for grabs on the offensive side of the ball. Right Guard. And even that may not be much of a competition. The intrigue on the offense is the competition between the backup players for the remaining spots on the 53-man roster, who always find themselves on the field playing critical snaps. 

Listed in each positional review are the total number of players at each position on the Eagles’ 90-man roster. 

QB (4)

Eagles jalen hurts
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Quarterback factory is alive and well! The Eagles have 4 QBs in camp; Jalen Hurts, Kenny Pickett, Tanner McKee, and Will Grier, but the hierarchy seems to be decided.  

Hurts is the unchallenged starter and Kenny Pickett is the likely QB2. The Eagles have gone with only 2 QBs on the initial 53-man roster in the past, but they have invested time and a draft pick in Tanner McKee and he is likely to remain QB3. Will Grier will assist Kellen Moore in implementing his offensive scheme. A stay on the practice squad for him is a possibility.

Quarterbacks- Jalen Hurts, Kenny Pickett, Tanner McKee, Will Grier

RB (6)

Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley runs a drill during practice at the NFL football team’s minicamp, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The running back position seems pretty well set unless injuries arise. The Eagles seem intent on carrying 3 backs on their opening-day roster. 

The Birds have invested significant financial resources into three-down-back Saquon Barkley, and if healthy, he will take the lion’s share of all carries this season. Kenny Gainwell is a capable backup who has proven his value to the team when called upon for a game. RB3, Will Shipley, was drafted for depth in 2024 and has the skill to be a starter. He could also contribute as a kick returner in his rookie year.

It would be surprising if the Eagles kept 4 RBs on the active roster. If you look at the lack of usage from that role last season, Rashaad Penny had 11 carries for 33 yards in 2023, there is little need for an RB4 on the 53. RB4 was only used as a game-day elevation when needed. I would expect that to be the case again this season.

UDFA Kendall Milton could be a great stash on the practice squad and Lew Nichols is also an intriguing candidate.

Running Backs- Saquon Barkley, Kenny Gainwell, Will Shipley, Kendall Milton, Lew Nichols, Tyrion Davis-Price

WR (11)

Eagles a.j brown
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown (11) runs a route during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles have one of the best WR duos in the league. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith give the Eagles a pair of number-one receivers, but the search for WR3 goes on. The Birds will have a lot of bodies battling for that honor, and the final 3 or 4 roster spots. Keeping 6 WR on the opening-day roster seems realistic, especially if one of those spots is for PR/WR Britain Covey. 

Parris Campbell is the frontrunner for WR3 but will be challenged by John Ross and others for those snaps.

Some fans have suggested the Eagles should move on from Covey. He was one of the best punt returners in the league last season and if they try to get him through waivers like they did last year, I believe they will lose him. He brings value to the team and is developing as a pass catcher. It would be surprising to allow him to leave after the time they have invested in him. 

Wide Receivers- AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Parris Campbell, Ainias Smith, Britain Covey, Johnny Wilson, John Ross, Joseph Ngata, Shaquan Davis, Jacob Harris, and Austin Watkins Jr

TE (6)

Dallas goedert eagles vs buccaneers
Dallas Goedert has been a staple of the Eagles offense since he was drafted back in 2018 Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

Tight end is another position the Eagles have a bonafide starter but a lot of question marks behind him. 

Dallas Goedert has been great when healthy but has missed time due to injury. Many thought the Eagles would have addressed the position in the draft, but they did not. Things have also been quiet on trading or signing another via free agency. CJ Uzomah appears to be the Eagles TE2.

The Eagles did add UDFA Matt Castles, who has a lot of potential and could be a surprising addition to the 53 if he can impress this summer. 

Tight Ends- Dallas Goedert, CJ Uzomah, Grant Calcatarra, Albert Okwuegbunam, Matt Castles, and E.J. Jenkins.

OL (16)

Eagles jordan mailata
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Tackle Jordan Mailata (68) looks on in the second half during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles have excellent starting tackles with Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata. Mekhi Becton and Fred Johnson are the current backups and the depth behind them is still up for grabs. Newcomers Anim Dankwah and Gottlieb Ayedze will compete for a roster spot on the 53 or practice squad. 

Becton has been everything the Eagles have hoped for and has the talent and size to move inside should Steen struggle in camp. 

Anim is a large and powerful man who exhibits traits that Coach Stoutland could develop into a long-term player for the Eagles. He is one to watch this spring. 

The interior line is more of a concern. With the retirement of Jason Kelce the center position is up for grabs for the time since 2011. If Cam Jurgens transitions without a hiccup, their line could be one of the best in the league. The competition at RG seems to be Tyler Steen’s and their LG will be Landon Dickerson. 

Tackles– Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Mekhi Becton, Fred Johnson, Anim Dankwah, Gottlieb Ayedze, and Brett Toth

Interior– Cam Jurgen, Tyler Steen, Landon Dickerson, Matt Hennessy, Trevor Keegan, Dylan McMahon, Max Scharping, Jason Poe, and Darian Kinnard. 

  • Laekin Vakalahi is a long-term OL project from Australia. Much like another Aussie on the roster, he had never played football before coming to America. His athleticism and size give the Eagles optimism that they can develop him into an asset as they have done with Jordan Mailata. Due to the international player exemption, Lakein does not currently count against their 90-man roster. 

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon