Because I haven’t posted any articles detailing my personal predictions for the Eagles’ 53-man roster, and the final cutdown day is tomorrow, I figured I ought to give you my thoughts before it’s too late. There have been undoubtedly hundreds of projections by fans and analysts thrown around over the past few days, and I decided to finally reveal mine (don’t get too excited, though, as I didn’t make too many drastic or unexpected forecasts):
- Donovan McNabb: No-brainer. He’s the starter.
- Michael Vick: Was signed to be used, not to sit on the bench or get let back into free agency.
- Kevin Kolb: Former 2nd-rounder. Still has potential and the organization admires him a ton.
- Brian Westbrook: Clearly the starter and there’s absolutely no question he’s staying.
- LeSean McCoy: Rookie who has signs of greatness. Will definitely make the squad.
- Eldra Buckley: After what I’ve seen from this former Charger, he’d better make the team ahead of Lorenzo Booker.
- Leonard Weaver: Signed to be the starter, and should have a great season in the Eagles’ offense.
- DeSean Jackson: Has been the star throughout the entire offseason. No question he’s on the team as the number 1 wideout.
- Kevin Curtis: Been bothered by injuries, but will still crack the final roster as one of the top 3 receivers.
- Jason Avant: Displayed a bunch of talent this offseason, and will once again man the 3rd WR/slot WR position.
- Jeremy Maclin: 1st-rounder who will definitely make the cut, and should move up in the depth chart by season end.
- Brandon Gibson: Has edged Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett for the second-to-last WR spot with great preseason play.
- Hank Baskett: Will stick around purely because of his size and ability to execute big plays.
- Brent Celek: Finally steps into the starting role after 2 seasons of relieving L.J. Smith.
- Tony Curtis: Can block and catch. Also made a TD against the Jets. Has looked more consistent than Eugene Bright, Rob Myers, and Matt Schobel.
- Alex Smith: This is basically the boldest prediction I’ve made on the roster, for I’m guessing Smith, a Patriot, gets traded in a deal including QB A.J. Feeley.
- Jason Peters: We traded a handful of draft picks to the Bills for him, so he will be on the roster and starting.
- Shawn Andrews: Rebounding from nagging and annoying injuries, but will remain on the team.
- King Dunlap: Will backup Peters at LT.
- Winston Justice: Providing his ankle injury vs. the Jets isn’t serious, he will be the number 2 behind Andrews.
- Todd Herremans: Injured until possibly Week 4, but will absolutely stay on the roster.
- Stacy Andrews: A 6-year deal on the first day of free agency should explain it.
- Max Jean-Gillies: Lost weight and gained speed and confidence from the team.
- Mike McGlynn: Proven to be a quality and trustworthy backup, and will make the roster as a reserve LG/RG.
- Jamaal Jackson: Strong offseason gives him the starting nod over Nick Cole. Besides, Cole will fill in for the injured Herremans at the Guard spot for the first few weeks.
- Nick Cole: Continues to perform well and despite a great offseason, will once again man a backup role.
- Trent Cole: Leads the team in sacks over the past 4 seasons and has been to a Pro-Bowl. Need I say more?
- Juqua Parker: Only because of Abiamiri’s inconsistency do I think Parker will win the starting Left DE spot.
- Victor Abiamiri: Failed to capitalize in the offseason battle for a starting spot, and will play part time behind Parker.
- Jason Babin (pictured): Late Camp signing who has been by far the most productive end on the club this preseason.
- Darren Howard: Battle-tested veteran who will play at both DE positions and likely DT as well.
- Chris Clemons: Will play on situational downs where pass-rushing is needed.
- Mike Patterson: Should put up another great season as one of the two starting DTs.
- Brodrick Bunkley: Like Patterson, Bunkley has steped up his performance, and will once again start.
- Trevor Laws: Injury-prone, yet potential-filled. Might see occassional snaps late in the game as he did in ‘08.
- Dan Klecko: Hard decidion for me. Most guess Klecko will be cut, and I’m on the fence with this one, but I’ll go with my gut instinct and say that Danny sticks around as a backup DT (and possible emergency FB).
- Omar Gaither: Named starter after Joe Mays couldn’t impress enough to take over for the IR member Stew Bradley.
- Joe Mays: Young, talented, athletic. Inexperienced, tentative, hesitant. Backup for now.
- Moise Fokou: Rookie who has quickly developed a sense of the game and his role. Will be reserve MLB or possibly OLB.
- Chris Gocong: Not dominant, but solid, and will again start at one of the Outside LB positions.
- Akeem Jordan: Took over a starting job last season, and will keep his leading role heading into 2009.
- Tracy White: Won’t get many snaps on defense, but rather on special teams plays.
- Asante Samuel: No question that Samuel, a Pro-Bowler last season and excellent defender this offseason, makes the team.
- Sheldon Brown: Contract controversy has dissolved and Brown is poised to start again.
- Joselio Hanson: Hasn’t played much in the preseason, but remains the clear choice for the number 3 CB on the roster.
- Ellis Hobbs: Somewhat disappointing offseason doesn’t change the fact that Hobbs will see plenty of time on the field.
- Quintin Demps: Has not shown much to be the claer choice for starter, and it’s a tough decision, but I go with him over Harris for the lead role.
- Macho Harris: Impressive preseason and Camp earn him a spot as Demps’ backup at FS.
- Quintin Mikell: Should’ve went to the Pro-Bowl a year ago, and will certainly be starting again this year.
- Sean Jones: Could be moved to FS, but for the beginning of the season, Jones will backup Mikell.
Special Teams (Kicker, Punter, Long Snapper)
- David Akers (K): No competition. No-brainer. Akers is on the team.
- Sav Rocca (P): Same as Akers’ situation. No competition. Rocca is secured.
- Jon Dorenbos (LS): Will make the team again as the Long Snapper. Won’t play anything else, but a trustworthy snapper.
Well, what do you think? The idea of trading for Alex Smith is probably the boldest of my projections for the roster, but some other ones may include:
- The removal of DE Bryan Smith and CB Jack Ikegwuonu, both young and hopeful players
- The decision to keep Dan Klecko on the roster as a 4th DT
- The removal of FBs Kyle Eckel and Marcus Mailei, for Weaver is resultingly the lone FB on the roster
Please leave your comments on how you think my vision for the roster shapes up, what you would change, or anything else that comes to mind. Also, if you’re interested in participating in the latest “Fan Challenge” (guessing your own 53-man roster), be sure to check out the sidebar on www.bleedgreenforever.wordpress.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org before it’s too late!
Picture source: Online image. http://assets.philadelphiaeagles.com/assets/gameday/240_babin_090821.jpg