July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid (center) talks to players after training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
We started our 53 man roster projection with a look at the defensive line, so we'll continue today with the rest of the defense. The numbers aren't nearly as hard to make up here, I think it makes sense to do them all as a group.
Going off last year, the Eagles kept DE (5), DT (5), LB (6), CB (6), S (5). Given the talent on the D-line there's a decent chance we could see them keep an extra guy there and lose a corner or safety... But for our purposes here we'll stick with last year as a guideline. When we're done going position by position, we may adjust.
Lets start with the locks
That leaves 2 LB, 2 corner, and 2 safety spots to fill. We'll discuss after the jump.
First, a few comments on the locks. I realize that I've put 2 backups as locks and no starters at WILL. Honestly its because I think that WILL job could be entirely open. Akeem Jordan though, is a solid player who can start at any position and a good special teamer. I just can't see the Eagles letting him go. Plus, with Fokou gone, there's really no other viable backup to Kendricks. Casey Matthews seems to me to be a lock simply because he has a lack of competition at LB.
I do have Joselio Hanson as a lock, which may surprise some... But Hanson was still this teams best slot corner last year and has been running with the ones quite a bit in camp. If you look down the depth chart at corner, I just can't see how there's two guys the Eagles would keep over him.
Someone has to win the WILL job. Brian Rolle was terrible against Pittsburgh, Jamar Chaney has been banged up and Keenan Clayton hasn't established himself. Probably only 2 of those guys will make the team and at this point none have seized the job.
I actually may be being a bit harsh putting Marsh as a bubble boy. He's all but locked up a spot here, but he'll play a lot in the next 3 games and there's really no track record for him, so you never know. Brandon Hughes played quite a bit last year so he'll certainly be in the mix and the Eagles recently traded or Kevin Thomas, who has a former 2nd round pick himself, certainly has a shot. We just haven't really seen him yet. I think the battle for that last spot is between him and Hughes.
That is assuming, of course, that they even take 6 corners. This is certainly one spot where you could argue that its not worth keeping a guy like Brandon Hughes or Kevin Thomas over Darryl Tapp or Antonio Dixon on the defensive line.
I know a lot of people liked Cliff Harris at the start, but he's been hurt and just hasn't played enough. He's also not made an impact in the return game as was expected. I'm sure he'll get chances in preseason, but he needs to start coming on quick if he is going to have any shot at a roster spot.