Eagles Wake-Up Call: Making Sense Of the Depth Chart

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles released their first (unofficial) depth chart of the year Monday in advance of Friday night’s preseason opener against the Bears.

This should obviously be taken with a grain of salt, but then again so should everything else this time of year. So let’s take a look and offer a little bit of context.


No surprises at quarterback. Chip Kelly will explain Wednesday what his plan is for Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. But Sanchez has had the inside track on the No. 2 job all offseason. Barkley will have to outplay him to win it.

At running back, we know three of the names: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk. If the Eagles keep a fourth, Matthew Tucker is the favorite. Undrafted free agents Henry Josey and David Fluellen will look to make a splash.

The depth chart above shows 11 personnel (one RB, one TE, three WRs). Brad Smith is listed ahead of Jordan Matthews. That’s going to change some time between now and Week 1. Matthews is probably the player Eagles fans are most excited to see in game action.

Brent Celek is listed ahead of Zach Ertz, but the Eagles will sprinkle in some 2-TE looks.

And you see there are some offensive line spots up for grabs. The five starters plus Lane Johnson are locks. Everyone else is competing.


On the defensive line, expect a shake-up with the backup spots in the next month. Rookies Beau Allen and Taylor Hart are listed with the third team, but they both have shots to make the squad. Joe Kruger is battling for a roster spot.

At outside linebacker, Marcus Smith II has taken over on the second team behind Connor Barwin. Brandon Graham is Trent Cole’s backup, but he’s no lock to make the team.

The Eagles have three inside linebacker spots accounted for: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode. Others – Emmanuel Acho, Casey Matthews and Jason Phillips – are fighting for a (potential) fourth spot.

No surprises at cornerback. And Nate Allen has the leg up on Earl Wolff (for now) at safety.

Perhaps the most noteworthy item on the depth chart is that Nolan Carroll II is listed as the top kickoff returner. Josh Huff is also a candidate to win that job.


Practice observations on Billy Davis, backyard football and more.

Nick Foles is working with a thin receiving corps between Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin’s injuries.

Chip Kelly gives fascinating insight on the receiver trend and (indirectly) DeSean Jackson’s release.

You’ll be surprised who has the Eagles’ third highest-selling jersey.


Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com offers a 53-man roster projection. He has the Eagles only keeping three running backs:

None of the backup running backs behind Sproles and Polk have stood out in any meaningful way. While Chip Kelly noted that Tucker is “firmly entrenched in that fourth spot right now,” at this point, the additional RB spot is probably better off being used at another position, such as along the offensive or defensive line. Tucker can probably be stashed safely on the practice squad, where the Eagles can elevate him to the 53-man roster if they suffer an injury at RB.

Asked on-air to make a Super Bowl prediction, Cris Collinsworth mentioned the Eagles. Per CBS Philly:

“You know the team that I think will have a chance this year, is the Philadelphia Eagles,” Collinsworth said during the broadcast. “I just feel like Chip Kelly and what they did in that first year with that offense, I know they didn’t get it all in, and this year maybe a little bit more advanced Nick Foles. So I’m kind of keeping my eye on the Philadelphia Eagles.”


We’re back at it with another practice at NovaCare this afternoon.

Don’t forget to pre-order your Eagles Almanac.

PDF: $10

Paperback: $25


Josh Paunil contributed to this post.

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  • IgglesRDaBomb

    Cris Collinsworth picks eagles to win Super Bowl… *gulp*

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      if Berman of Peter King pick Eags, then really worry.

    • dnabrice

      He has a serious man crush on the Eagles right now. Shady in particular. Esp because he was the announcer for their last 3 games last year, I think.

  • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

    “Nate Allen has a leg up on Earl Wolff” – I see what you did there.

    • GreenBleedin

      Very perceptive

    • poetx99

      you beat me to it, but, yeah.

    • CHRIS – CB with dreads

      I kneed some clarity on your comment, I don’t understand.

      • Jason


  • cliff h-MOAR white goons

    Friday i want to see 3 things, Dirty to Jordsus, the starters standing on sidelines healthy, and 2nd team OLine. i’m not in doom or gloom group, so hopefully with Lane beating on inferior competition they look pretty good. surprised Vandervelde is over Molk, mostly due to injury. not sure Julian’s practice this camp yet.

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      At some point this preseason I’d like to see Carroll and Boykin on the outside with the 1s. Doesn’t have to be Friday, but I’d like to see that at some point. Probably won’t get to see Boykin on the outside, unfortunately.

    • B-West

      I’m intrigued by the defensive depth at DL and LB. I know they’re not studs, but I think some bonfide NFL players will be cut from those groups. They won’t be scrap heap guys, they’ll get picked up by other teams. And I find myself having a soft spot for Graham, I’m hoping he flashes in the preseason.

      • dnabrice

        Don’t think Graham has the physical ability to cover. It’s a pity. Wish he had panned out. Could still do good things as a 4-3 with another team. Not happening here. His pass rush skills probably keep him here for another year b/c he still has decent dead money tied to his contract.

    • Eagles1018…Please no more du

      Hey Cliff…haven’t spoken in a while so I’m in catch up mode. When did y’all come up with “Jordsus”? Awesome name

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        i try and give him a new nickname every time. think i’ve used this twice. be great if it caught on, it is my personal favorite.

  • Formidable

    Anything short of 5 TDs in the 1st half of Friday’s game for Jordan before laying hands on Earl Wolff’s knee to elevate him to starting safety and raising George Halas from the dead so Jordan can give him football pointers will be a disappointment.

  • Tom w

    I picked up a few noteworthy items:

    1) Casey and burton are both listed as third team tight end. Besides suprised bc barely heard about burton during camp, but we know he is athletic and similar to Casey and four million cheaper/. Better watch out

    2) bye jake knott. Nice knowing ya.

    3) acho shown enough to climb even w matthews. Please chip enough Oregon guys already.

    4) momah ahead of Cunningham and Murphy even though both made the team last year. Good start for momah

    • JofreyRice

      I also thought it was interesting to see Tobin listed as the backup left GUARD, not tackle. I know Chip likes tall guards, but we need a viable guy to develop behind Peters and Tobin graded out pretty well last preseason (per PFF) taking snaps at 2nd string LT–and that was as an UDFA.

      Looks like Bamiro is a long shot to make the team. I believe he’s another guy that started out a T, but has since been moved to 3rd string RG. Not a huge deal, but I was pulling for the Sea Wolf, and there just aren’t too many 6’8 340 pound guys around.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I believe that Barbre is viewed as the primary backup at both T spots (sans LJ’s suspension).

        Speaking of LJ’s suspension, I’m curious if that forces the staff’s hands at carrying an extra OL that they would not have carried otherwise. Not a huge deal but could effect another position’s depth.

        • Warhound KnowsHstryWarts&All

          Hard to see a 4th RB at the start of the season.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yes that’s my thinking. We’ll see a guy relegated to the PS that we’ll hope won’t get scooped away from us. But in regards to RB, didn’t they break camp with just 3 last year?

  • Johnny Domino

    When it’s all said and done I think a few 3’s move over the 2’s on the D, at least.

  • dislikedisqus

    Who is Brandon Bair? I don’t recognize him at all backing up Cox.