Depth Chart Projection: Eagles Offense
The Eagles begin OTAs a week from today at the NovaCare Complex, so now seems like a good time to take a look at their depth chart.
We’ll do the offense today and the defense tomorrow. Before the big unveil, a few notes:
- This is a beginning depth chart, not necessarily what I expect it to look like in early September.
- Having said that, for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll assume that every player is healthy and in attendance.
- Below the actual depth chart are position-by-position breakdowns. More than anything, this is meant to provide an overall look at where the roster stands, but there’s no harm in guessing where things might be headed in the coming months.
Without further ado…
|WR||Riley Cooper||Josh Huff||Jeff Maehl|
|LT||Jason Peters||Andrew Gardner||Malcolm Bunche|
|LG||Evan Mathis||Dennis Kelly||Josh Andrews|
|C||Jason Kelce||David Molk||Julian Vandervelde|
|RG||Allen Barbre||Matt Tobin||Cole Manhart|
|RT||Lane Johnson||Kevin Graf||Brett Boyko|
|TE||Brent Celek||Zach Ertz||Trey Burton|
|WR||Jordan Matthews||Seryi Ajirotutu||Quron Pratt|
|WR (slot)||Nelson Agholor||Miles Austin||John Harris|
|RB||DeMarco Murray||Ryan Mathews||Darren Sproles|
|QB||Sam Bradford||Mark Sanchez||Matt Barkley|
Quarterbacks: It’s unclear when exactly Sam Bradford will be able to participate fully as he recovers from his ACL injury, but he was brought here to eventually be the starter. Having said that, Chip Kelly believes in running a true meritocracy. He’ll be asked if there’s a QB competition between Bradford and Mark Sanchez, and he’ll say yes. There’s at least a chance that if Sanchez clearly outperforms Bradford in the preseason, he’ll win the job.
Meanwhile, at the No. 3 spot, Tim Tebow will look to unseat Matt Barkley. The coaching staff clearly doesn’t have much faith in Barkley, and the Eagles didn’t draft any quarterbacks, so Tebow has a shot to make the roster.
Running backs: This one is pretty straightforward with the first three spots: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Others – Matthew Tucker, Kenjon Barner and Raheem Mostert – have to hope that Kelly will keep a fourth running back.
Wide receivers: One thing I know about Kelly: He believes in making rookies earn playing time. So don’t be surprised/alarmed if Nelson Agholor starts out with the second or third team. But given how advanced Agholor seems to be from a mental standpoint, he could be the exception.
Riley Cooper’s role is one we probably haven’t discussed enough here. There’s a scenario where the Eagles settle on Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and Agholor as the top three receivers, leaving Cooper on the sideline. I have to believe that if Kelly watched the 2014 film and decided he didn’t want LeSean McCoy or Nick Foles, he also concluded that Cooper shouldn’t be a starter. But Huff will have to prove he’s a more reliable option in his second year to earn those snaps.
As for Matthews’ role, my guess is he plays a lot more outside in 2015. I didn’t think his size was a huge advantage in the slot last year, even though he was highly productive in that role, and Agholor may be better suited to play inside as a rookie.
Tight ends: The Zach Ertz story is pretty simple. He’s not going to replace Brent Celek until Kelly believes in Ertz as a run blocker. And that wasn’t the case last year. Ertz is arguably the most reliable pass-catching option on the team, but given that this is a run-first offense, the starting tight end has to be just as reliable in the run game. If Ertz makes strides in that area, it’s a no-brainer to replace Celek with him. If he doesn’t, we’ll see a similar setup to last year.
Trey Burton figures to take over the James Casey role as the third tight end. The Eagles added three undrafted free agents at this position – Justin Tukes, Eric Tomlinson and Andrew Gleichert. They’ll likely be battling for one roster spot.
Offensive line: There figures to be some competition at right guard. Allen Barbre is the favorite, but Matt Tobin could challenge him. The other four starters are set, unless Evan Mathis gets traded.
The good news with the Eagles’ depth? Their backups have logged snaps and started games. The bad news? None performed particularly well, and there’s very little upside.
The first team above, plus Tobin, all seem like good bets to make the roster. But others like Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, David Molk and Julian Vandervelde could be let go if the undrafted free agents impress the coaching staff.