53 spots, most already taken, let's get to it all.
3 spots available, top two are already filled, Kafka and Edwards fighting for the final spot. Kafka should have the edge since he was #2 going into preseason, and hopefully shouldn't lose a job due to injury. But we don't know what they have in mind. Maybe they don't want to groom 2 young Qb's, they'll keep one young (Foles) and one veteran to mentor (Edwards) and maybe get something back for Kafka. But if they're looking to keep the 3 best, Kafka should have an edge although Edwards hasn't played too bad against the 3rd stringers these last 3 games.
Prediction: Too close to tell, if we're going with Foles as our future, it would make sense for Kafka to compete and have a really good final preseason game and then ship him out for a late round pick and keep Edwards as the 3rd Qb. If we're depending on our 3rd Qb to carry us for any amount of games then we are already in trouble, so I wouldn't mind Edwards although he's average at best.
Tight Ends (2) - Looking for a big year and substantial production from our top 2 TE's. Brackett and Ford are practice squad bound as it looks now, they have too much competition at other spots to keep 3 TE's. Here's to a healthy season for Celek and Harbor, otherwise we might be in trouble.
Wide Receivers (6)
I wouldn't mind if they went with 5 at this position, but I don't want to give up on Cooper or McNutt just yet. I have a bad feeling that Cooper will have a decent career if we let go of him, so just for that, I'd like to keep him around this year and see if he produces. McNutt has good size, potential, and cannot just be judged on a couple of preseason games, although he hasn't looked bad. He had a good training camp and could be that big receiver that they've been looking for after a little more seasoning, so it would be too soon to cut him at this point. Damaris seems to have pretty much solidified a spot for himself, so unless he looks terrible in this last game, he's gonna be on the team. The top 3 receivers are pretty much etched in stone.
Half Backs (3)
Wow, what a collection of backs we have this year. Top 3 are locks. The 4th one, Chris Polk, could make the team as well. We'll come back to this one at the end to see if we have an extra roster spot for him.
Full Back (1)
Havili and Igwenagu are both still in the running for this spot, if they actually decide to keep a FB on the team. It would make sense to keep one, to help with the run game, I wish they had a player who was a FB/TE combo (maybe Igwenagu is that guy) and could contribute at more than one position. I don't mind using a roster spot for this position as they still use the FB in their offense.
Would love to see Igwenagu challenge Havili in this last game. Havili is not a lock at this point, although he has had a couple of good plays so far. This spot is wide open for the taking in this final preseason game.
Offensive Line (9)
With so much competition at the other positions, 9 seems like the right number to keep on the O-Line. Top 5 are set with Dunlap clearly the better option at LT over Bell as of now. Backups are set at tackle with Bell and Dennis Kelly (who seemed to do well in place of Herremans, which is encouraging to see, and Kelly was a LT in college, so he can also play there). That leaves us with 2 spots for backup Center and Guard. May the best man win ! Geoff Mosher, Eagles Insider for CSNPhilly, has Steve Vallos leading the group for the backup Center job. He makes good points, and Vallos seems like the best option available. The backup Guard competition is weak with Vanderwelde leading a mediocre group.
Our starters are pretty solid but depth is untested and questionable at this point, but 9 spots seems to be enough to allot to this position since there isn't a player really who we're at risk of losing after those 9. Someone like Brandon Washington can join the practice squad and hopefully be ready to fill-in if called upon later in the year. They might also look elsewhere for depth.
Defensive Line (9)
9 spots are already locked up with Phillip Hunt and Cedric Thornton having a great training camp and preseason. The other 7 locks are Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry. No doubts about the Top 9 right ?
Inteview: Tapp from 8/26, he's one of my favorite players in terms of personality.
Line Backers (6)
After DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, the picture gets a little hazy. Is Brian Rolle gonna win the 3rd starting job or Jamar Chaney? We'll need to see the 4th game to see if there's someone who steps to win that WILL position. For our purpose, let's say Rolle keeps his spot. That leaves us with 4 LB's competing for 3 spots. Clayton was on the outside looking in, but he had a decent game last week with a bad attempt at a tackle mixed in. Akeem Jordan didn't stand out last week and Casey Matthews has been MIA during the preseason.
Prediction: Have to keep Chaney and Matthews at this point, with the final spot between Clayton and Jordan. I like the fact that Clayton can cover a little bit and blocked a punt last week as well. I would like for Clayton to stand out some more in the final game and give Jordan a run for his money for that final spot.
Update: Akeem Jordan has been named the starter at WILL as of Sunday 8/26. Sounds bad for Brian Rolle.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of any of our Safeties right now. This is by far the weakest position on the team now that we've upgraded our LB's. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are average players who will be starting for us because it gets even scarier after those two. OJ Atogwe is still getting assimilated with the system and has not done anything to stand out when he's been healthy enough to play. Jarrett is by far the biggest disappointment in preseason but not ready to give up on him yet, per Tommy Lawlor of PhiladelphiaEagles.com and IgglesBlitz.com, JaiJar didn't play terrible in the 3rd game (see Tommy's analysis).
The wild card is Phillip Thomas, who stood out a little last week. He's still a long shot, but I'd love for him to play well enough to knock somebody out of a backup job. Let's just hope our starters can hold their own and we won't need to rely on our depth.
Corner Backs (5)
There are 5 locks for this position already with Hanson, Boykin and Marsh backing up our starters. Hanson is too valuable to let go and Marsh has definitely earned a spot.
That leaves us with Brandon Hughes, Cliff Harris and Trevard Lindley. Heard a lot of good things about Cliff Harris coming out of training camp, he has been slowed down due to injury but did finally return and made a heads up play to intercept a tipped ball by Clayton. I'm going to put Cliff in the final roster cutdown list along with Polk, Tapp and Dixon.
Update: So much for Cliff Harris, he got cut before I finished writing the post, see more below.
Special Teams (3) - The only mystery is Punter, I'm sure they'll figure it out. McBriar seems to be in the lead, although McBriar was the holder on the 41 yd FG that Alex Henery missed badly against Cleveland (per Spuds), not sure if that was just an isolated situation or if Henery feels more comfortable with Henry as the holder.
Final Roster Cutdown: Two Spots Remaining amongst 4 Players
So far we've filled 51 positions on the team. I've tried to stay very grounded with those selections so there is not a lot of controversy. But now we have 4 players left: Darryl Tapp, Antonio Dixon, Chris Polk and Cliff Harris.
I'm like Andy Reid, I don't want to lose any good d-linemen, and with that Darryl Tapp has to somehow make this team. He's too valuable in that amazing d-end rotation we're gonna have. They're gonna break all kinds of records for sacks, forced fumbles, etc etc. And I would love to see Darryl Tapp as part of that group. It is a luxury, but out of the 4 people left, he is the best player on the board, and he's not half bad against the run either. Having said that, they might trade him for a later round pick and maybe decide to keep Dixon around until Patterson is ready to get back. Not sure what they have in mind here, but I'd love to see Tapp stay and meet Graham at the QB, as they did last week. So, 1 out of those 2 positions should go to a defensive linemen, be it Tapp or Dixon.
That leaves us with 1 position open between two players: Chris Polk and Cliff Harris. Both undrafted free agents and both with a lot of skills. I'd love to keep them both, but there's no room. Cliff Harris is still a bit of a project (so maybe we can hide him on the practice squad), but Chris Polk is ready right now. He's a good blocker already, runs hard and can get those tough yards in those short yardage situations. Cliff Harris is a 'playmaker' in Tommy Lawlor's words, and would hate to lose him to another team at this point. So it's really a toss up. Both will be healthy and ready to play in the 4th preseason game, so let the best performer win, although my money is on Chris Polk and an unheard of 4 half-back back group along with a fullback! Let the games begin !!!
Again: Harris got cut after I wrote this but before publishing, good thing I was leaning towards Polk, I still think this early move to get rid of Harris could lead to a practice squad spot later or maybe I was way off on Harris.
** Reuben Frank also surprised by the Cliff Harris cut (see story), one thing is possible that they might have realized that there is no room for him on the 53 man roster but liked him for the practice squad, but did not want to put any more good film out there for him by having him play the 4th game or even in Flight Night tonite at 7:30, just a conspiracy theory on my part, maybe means nothing in the bigger picture. **
Please share where you would change this roster breakdown, or if you agree with what's been put forth then who would make your final 2 spots.