Roster Analysis: Sizing Up the Eagles’ Defense
The Eagles made cuts today, trimming the roster down to 53 players in advance of the 4 p.m. deadline. Here’s a position-by-position look at what the squad looks like on defense. If you missed the post on the offense, click here.
Defensive line (7): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart.
If you would have told me a month ago that Bair was going to make the roster, I would have vehemently disagreed. But his preseason performance made keeping him seem like a no-brainer.
Bair and Curry will back up Cox and Thornton at the end spots. It’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles split time between Logan and Allen at nose tackle. Allen has performed well all summer, and Logan is coming back from a hamstring injury.
Hart seems like the most likely candidate to be inactive to start the season.
Outside linebackers (5): Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith II, Bryan Braman.
The change here stems from Travis Long tearing his ACL. Graham will back Cole up at the Predator spot.
I’m not sure what the Eagles will do with Smith on gamedays. If they’re comfortable with Braman backing Barwin up, Smith could be inactive. Otherwise, both could dress.
Inside linebackers (4): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Casey Matthews.
Matthews sticks around for another year. Had Long not gotten hurt, he would have served as the fourth inside LB option, and Matthews likely would have been gone.
The Eagles very well could sign an inside linebacker who gets waived by another team and still part ways with Matthews.
Ryans and Kendricks will start. Expect Goode to be more than just a backup. He figures to be a rotational LB who plays every week even if Ryans and Kendricks are healthy.
Cornerbacks (5): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll II, Jaylen Watkins.
This was the easiest position to project. Williams will start on one side. Carroll is pushing Fletcher for the other starting job.
Boykin will be the nickel, and Watkins could be inactive on gamedays to start the season.
Safeties (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos.
I thought rookie Ed Reynolds had a good chance of sticking, but in the end, there wasn’t room for him. The fifth-round pick missed much of the spring because he attended Stanford and NCAA rules prohibited him from participating in OTAs. That was obviously a factor in his development.
Jenkins and Allen will be the starters to begin the season. Wolff and Maragos will be the backups.
Specialists (3): Cody Parkey, Jon Dorenbos, Donnie Jones.
With makes from 53 and 54 yards in the final preseason game, Parkey beat out Alex Henery for the kicking job. It was a great showing by Parkey, but this position is still a question mark going into the season.