Eagles 53-Man Roster Projection
Let’s get the usual disclaimers out of the way:
- It’s only June, and the Eagles haven’t even practiced in pads yet.
- There will be more roster moves made between now and September.
- Players unfortunately will get injured.
Having said all that, providing an early 53-man roster projection allows us to at least get a handle on what camp battles should be taken seriously come August.
It’s also just a fun exercise for the sleepy days of late June. And we’re pro-fun here at Birds 24/7. So here you go:
Quarterbacks (3): Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley.
I was asked recently about Tim Tebow’s chances of making the team, and I put the number at about 35 percent. If the Eagles really liked Barkley, they probably would not have signed Sanchez each of the past two offseasons.
Having said that, I didn’t see much from Tebow to suggest he’s made any kind of dramatic improvement as a passer, so I think Barkley is still the favorite to win the No. 3 job.
I will say that the Eagles appeared to be using more zone read stuff when Tebow was on the field at practice. If the competition for the No. 3 job is close, Tebow could get the nod because at least he can bring an element to the run game.
Running backs (4): DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner.
The first three here are locks. Based on the past two seasons, I think Chip Kelly wants seven guys combined from the RB/TE group. So the Barner spot is up for grabs. It could go to Matthew Tucker, or it could go to a fourth tight end.
Wide receivers (6): Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu.
The Eagles kept six receivers coming out of camp last year. I think the first four here are pretty much locks. They guaranteed $1 million to Austin, so he’s not going anywhere. Ajirotutu has been a very good special teams player and flashed on several occasions during OTAs/minicamp.
Tight ends (3): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton.
The Eagles brought in three undrafted free agent tight ends. I haven’t seen much from any of them as receivers, but when the pads come on, one could emerge as a blocker/special teams player. If that’s the case, the coaches could go with a fourth tight end instead of a fourth running back. The top three here are locks.
Offensive linemen (9): Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Matt Tobin, Lane Johnson, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, David Molk, Brett Boyko.
The first six guys here are locks. I think either Tobin or Gardner will be starting at right guard, and the other one will be the top backup.
Kelly probably has an edge on some of the other backups, and Molk appears to have a leg up on Julian Vandervelde for the backup center spot.
Adam Caplan suggested Boyko has a good chance to make the roster, so we gave him the nod for the final spot here.
Defensive linemen (7): Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart.
It’s the same group as last year. There’s a chance a relative unknown like seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik or undrafted free agent Travis Raciti emerges and challenges either Bair or Hart. But for now, we’ll play it safe and go with these seven.
Outside linebackers (5): Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Travis Long, Bryan Braman.
I would be surprised if the Eagles gave up on Smith after one year. Kelly loves Long and said he would have made the team last year had he not torn his ACL. So if he’s healthy (and he did everything in the spring), I think he makes it. And Braman plays a huge role on special teams.
Inside linebackers (4): DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks.
This was probably the toughest position to decide on. The four players above are locks (barring a Kendricks trade).
But I left guys out like Najee Goode and Brad Jones. Goode missed 15 games last year with a pec injury, and the Eagles signed Jones in the offseason. It’s possible one of them could bump an outside linebacker, but for now I’m going with four players at this position.
Cornerbacks (5): Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Brandon Boykin, Eric Rowe, JaCorey Shepherd.
The first four are locks, and Shepherd flashed quite a bit in the practices open to the media.
Sixth-round pick Randall Evans has a chance to steal the last spot away from Shepherd if he performs well in August. Jaylen Watkins has been practicing at corner and safety. There’s been little indication that the coaches are counting on him to contribute, but that could change during training camp.
Safeties (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Chris Prosinski.
At this point, it’d be an upset if Thurmond didn’t start alongside Jenkins at safety.
After them, though, it’s slim pickings.
Maragos and Prosinski are primarily special teams players. I’m not sure the coaches would trust either guy to play on defense.
Earl Wolff was sidelined all spring, and Kelly made it clear that the coaches don’t think they can count on him. Jerome Couplin or Ed Reynolds could steal a spot with a standout performance at training camp and in the preseason.
Specialists (3): Cody Parkey, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos.
No spots in jeopardy here.