Projected Depth Chart: Eagles’ Offense
We went over the defense yesterday.
Here is the projected depth chart for the Eagles’ offense, based on what we saw during spring practices. Explanations below.
First Team Second Team Third Team
QB Michael Vick/Nick Foles Michael Vick/Nick Foles Matt Barkley
RB LeSean McCoy Bryce Brown Chris Polk
LT Jason Peters Dennis Kelly Ed Wang
LG Evan Mathis Danny Watkins Nate Menkin
C Jason Kelce Dallas Reynolds Matt Tennant
RG Todd Herremans Allen Barbre Matt Kopa
RT Lane Johnson Dennis Kelly Matt Tobin
TE Brent Celek Zach Ertz James Casey
WR DeSean Jackson Damaris Johnson Greg Salas
WR Jeremy Maclin Riley Cooper Ifeanyi Momah
WR Jason Avant Arrelious Benn Russell Shepard
Quarterback: You can view it as a cop-out, but really this is the most accurate way to rank them. Vick and Foles split first-team reps at every practice I attended. I know some people charted overall reps, but that can be a bit deceiving. For example, if a quarterback throws a 50-yard touchdown on the first play of a drill, he generally comes off. That’s only one rep, but it’s a successful one. The same thing happens if the quarterback throws an interception.
Expect Vick and Foles to continue the back-and-forth well into the preseason. Chip Kelly wants to see how each guy responds when faced with the possibility of getting crushed by an opposing defensive player. He has plenty of tape to go off of, but Kelly needs to see how each quarterback handles the new concepts he and his coaching staff have implemented.
Barkley appears to be a clear No. 3 at this point, but I’m not ready to rule anything out.
Kelly has said consistently that the competition will play itself out on the field, and the best performer will be named the starter. His track record at Oregon suggests that’s one of his core beliefs and not just lip service.
Settle in. I wouldn’t expect a winner to be announced until close to that Week 1 matchup against the Redskins.
Running back: McCoy and Brown both figure to see plenty of action in this offense.
Behind them, Polk, Felix Jones and undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker will be competing for roster spots. Polk has dropped weight from a year ago and seemed to be ahead of the other two during spring practices.
Jones provides versatility and could have a leg up if he can be effective as a returner and stay healthy.
Since the Eagles don’t have a fullback on the roster, they could potentially keep four running backs.
Wide receiver: This was a tough one. You’ll notice that the depth chart I’m using features “11” personnel, or one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers.
Avant is a difficult player to evaluate in this scheme. He doesn’t have exceptional size or speed, but he catches anything near him and is the toughest receiver on the roster. Avant is also someone who can set an example for younger players. He’s already taken Sheppard under his wing this offseason.
Benn is not exclusively a slot receiver, even though I put him behind Avant. He was a disappointment in Tampa, but has a versatile skill set. Benn’s chance to prove himself will come in the summer when the pads are on. He’s probably the best blocker among this group.
Cooper and Johnson return from last year’s squad and will have to earn spots. Johnson improved throughout the course of his rookie season and showed the ability to make plays after the catch. He’s also in the mix as a return man. Cooper didn’t do much when given the opportunity to start last year, but he has good measurables and is only 25.
Sheppard looked good during the spring, and Momah’s size (6-foot-7) is intriguing.
This is a crowded position with players with different skill sets. We’ll find out a lot about what Kelly is looking for from his wide receivers after the roster is trimmed down to 53.
Tight end: The depth chart here is a bit misleading. By all accounts, the Eagles are expected to use a lot of two tight-end sets under Kelly. I still think Celek will play the most snaps this season, but he could be on the field with Ertz or Casey quite a bit.
Ertz missed spring practices because of the NCAA graduation rule. And Casey spent several practices on the bike, following arthroscopic knee surgery .
Left tackle/right tackle: Peters has drawn glowing reviews from coaches and teammates, and Johnson has taken over as the starting right tackle.
Kelly looks to be the favorite to be the first backup at both spots (which is why he’s listed twice). He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition.
Left guard/right guard: Mathis missed time with an ankle injury, but returned last week. Herremans makes the switch to right guard from right tackle.
In terms of depth, Barbre and Watkins are vying for the first backup guard spot.
Center: Kelly has praised Kelce for being in the building rehabbing all offseason. The third-year center is coming off of ACL surgery, but participated in team drills for the first time last week. He’s expected to be fully cleared by training camp.
The backup spot is up for grabs. Reynolds and Tennant are both in the mix.