Eagles 53-Man Roster: The Final Draft

Sorry, Sheil, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You went first, you selected Mat McBriar as your punter, and hours later the news came down that he would be cut.

So I submit my final projections for the Eagles’ 53-man roster at plus-one. And no, I take no shame in gaining an advantage this way. On the line is a night of whiskey drinking on the loser for the victor and a few of his friends. Tell my wife not to wait up Friday night.

Here we go.

Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards.

This is my first time putting Edwards on the team. It was just a couple weeks ago when I never thought it would happen. As I detailed yesterday,  Foles’ rise has shifted the dynamic and the rookie is an important part of this franchise all of a sudden. Edwards, given his similar history and tight relationship with Foles, might just be the answer for the No. 3 spot.

Cut: Mike Kafka

Running backs (5): LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili.

I have been trying to solve this riddle for some time now. Who will go, who will stay, do they need a traditional fullback, etc. In my final analysis, I say they do need a true fullback, so Havili is on. The Eagles seem to like Polk, too, and he’ll get scooped up if cut. So I have decided to keep them all. Chad Hall will be the odd man out as a result. He has some practice squad eligibility remaining anyway, and this is the way to ensure you are keeping the best football players on your team.

Cut: Emil Igwenagu

Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson.

Hall is sacrificed. Marvin McNutt has not earned a spot this  preseason. The first couple weeks of the season could be a little tricky with Cooper still not all the way back from a broken collarbone. But four receivers should be enough for game day, and Johnson needs to be active as the punt returner anyway.

Cut: McNutt, Mardy Gilyard

Tight ends (2): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor.

Nothing has changed here. Let’s move on.

Cut: Brett Brackett, Chase Ford

Offensive linemen (9): King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Demetress Bell, Julian Vandervelde, Dennis Kelly, Steve Vallos.

Remember when I had Dunlap on the verge of being cut? That was fun. Beyond the four starters returning from last season, I can’t speak with any great confidence about any of the other offensive linemen. I do, however, have confidence in Howard Mudd to somehow make it a capable group.

Cut: D.J. Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Brandon Washington.

Defensive linemen (10): Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Derek Landri, Brandon Graham,  Phillip Hunt, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton, Darryl Tapp.

Sheil has all eleven defensive linemen staying, and I can certainly see the logic. In my previous projections I had Tapp being dealt, but Babin’s injury has me rethinking my stance. We have no guarantees that he’ll be ready for the start of the season. And will the calf strain linger? Antonio Dixon doesn’t make it here, which leaves the Eagles with four defensive tackles. If injury strikes, they’ll have to go onto the market for someone else.

Cut: Dixon, Frank Trotter, Ollie Ogbu, Monte Taylor.

Linebackers (6): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Akeem Jordan.

Seems like the group to me. Don’t anticipate any surprise cuts here, but I suppose you never know.

Cut: Keenan Clayton, Adrian Moten, Ryan Rau, Monte Simmons.

Cornerbacks (6): Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Boykin, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Hughes.

A lot of analysts have Hughes being cut, especially those who are trying to get that extra defensive lineman on the roster. Could be. My thinking is that leaving Marsh as the lone option for when Asomugha moves inside might be asking for trouble. Ten defensive linemen is plenty. This is an important position as well. There’s no need for unnecessary risk.

Cut:  Trevard Lindley.

Safeties (4): Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Jaiquawn Jarrett.

In all honesty, this is not the four safeties I see being on the opening-day roster. There is just too much uncertainty, especially now that Allen has had two different injuries to the same hamstring this summer. Atogwe, Jarrett, or both may be gone, but it’s tough to say who Howie Roseman will find to take the vacated spot(s).

Cut: Phillip Thomas

Specialists (3): Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos.

You know, I’ve really been thinking about this, and I have a hunch Henry is going to surprise a lot of people and beat out McBriar. Call me crazy, Kapadia.

Cut: McBriar

Follow Tim on Twitter and e-mail him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com

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