If memory serves, I have outdueled the venerable Sheil Kapadia each of the last two years in this exercise. I think we can all agree that the chances of a three-peat are high.
If you want to see his roster projection (and why would you?), click here. If you prefer a more accurate read, continue on.
Teams must trim their rosters to 75 on August 26th, then down to 53 on August 30. Here’s how I see it playing out heading into the team’s second exhibition game:
Quarterbacks (3): Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley.
Sanchez is the clear favorite to win the backup job. I actually think he’s had the best camp out of any of the Eagles quarterbacks. He’s been running with the second team, granted, but it has to be encouraging for Chip Kelly to see that Sanchez has taken well to the system to this point. Barkley hasn’t dazzled but has looked better overall. Don’t see G.J. Kinne pulling the upset.
Running backs (4): LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker.
The Eagles like Tucker. I think they want to keep him around on merit. I also believe they want some insurance in case Polk, who has been sidelined for much of camp with a hamstring ailment, can’t get over the injury bug. Sounds like both Polk and Matthews will be out for Friday’s game and David Fluellen has been sitting out practice as well. An opportunity, then, for Henry Josey to showcase his ability.
Wide receivers (5): Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Brad Smith
Between Jeff Maehl, Ifeanyi Momah and Arrelious Benn, Momah has looked the best in my opinion. He is running with the first team in Cooper’s absence and has some upside. Can’t really get past Kelly’s remarks, though, that he needs his reserves to be great special teams contributors. Don’t think Momah fits that description. If they feel like he can develop into something special, they’ll make an exception. Otherwise the move may be to put him on the practice squad and hope nobody snags him.
Maehl is probably the best special teams player out of the receivers fighting for a spot, which gives him a chance. Benn hasn’t flashed a whole lot in camp.
Tight ends (4): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Emil Igwenagu.
Igwenagu made the team out of camp last season to the surprise of many. I’ll say he does it again.
Offensive linemen (9): Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, David Molk, Dennis Kelly, Andrew Gardner.
Lane Johnson goes on the reserve/suspended list after the preseason and won’t count against the 53-man.
Molk’s chances of making the squad improved dramatically after it was learned that Julian Vandervelde needed back surgery. Kelly, after having back surgery of his own last August, says that he is now back to his old self.
Defensive linemen (6): Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Taylor Hart, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen.
Sheil and I agree when it comes to both the offensive and defensive linemen.
Allen has outplayed Damion Square to this point. Joe Kruger was hoping to burst onto the scene this season and maybe he will, but he’s had a pretty quiet camp. Alejandro Villanueva is a great story but is still raw.
Outside linebackers (5): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Marcus Smith II, Bryan Braman, Brandon Graham.
Graham isn’t an ideal scheme fit but he’s a good pass rusher on a team that desperately needs a pass rush. Unless they get a really nice trade offer for him, I think he sticks. Travis Long has gotten some love from the coaching staff and has a chance to make the team — particularly with a strong showing in the remainder of the preseason — but I’m leaving him off for now.
Inside linebackers (4): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Casey Matthews.
Like Johnson, Jake Knott will start the season on the suspended list and doesn’t count against the 53-man.
Before you get on me about Matthews, consider that he was third on the team last year with 12 special teams tackles. We know how Kelly feels about special teams. Can’t say I’ve noticed Jason Phillips much during camp. He and Emmanuel Acho would be the other candidates for the fourth insider linebacker spot.
Cornerbacks (5): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll II, Jaylen Watkins.
I was half-tempted to put Curtis Marsh on here. He’s looked good in practice the last few weeks and appears to be finding his stride a bit. Not sure that there is room for him but I may change my mind before settling on my final projections.
Safeties (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos, Ed Reynolds.
Reynolds had to miss some time this spring because of the NCAA graduation rules and is likely still catching up. Think the Eagles will give him some time to develop. Davon Morgan, Keelan Johnson and Daytawion Lowe are the other options.
Specialists (3): Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Donnie Jones.
Never felt like a competition. Henery will be the guy for now.