Yes, it's crazy early, but hell, what else is there to talk about?
I'll probably be editing this as time goes on, but here's Draft 1.0 of my 2013 53-Man Roster Prediction.
QB: Vick, Foles, Barkley (3)
RB: McCoy, B.Brown, F.Jones (3)
H-Back: Casey (1)
WR: D. Jackson, Avant, Benn
WR: Maclin, D. Johnson, Cooper (6)
TE: Celek, Ertz, Harbor (3)
LT: Peters, Wang
C: Kelce, Reynolds
RG: Herremans, Watkins
RT: L. Johnson, Kelly (9)
3-Tech: Cox, Curry
NT: Sopoaga, A. Dixon, Logan
5-Tech: Thornton, Kruger (7)
Predator: Cole, Graham
WILL: Kendricks, Phillips
MIKE: Ryans, Chaney
SAM: Barwin, Hunt (8)
CB: C. Williams, Boykin, Poyer
CB: Fletcher, Marsh (5)
S: Chung, Wolff, Anderson
S: Allen, Phillips (5)
P: D. Jones
LS: Dorenbos (3)
Notable Cuts: QB D. Dixon, RB Polk, WR Momah, OL Allen Barbre, OL Matt Tennant, OL Matt Kopa, DL David King, DL Clifton Geathers, LB Casey Matthews, CB Brandon Hughes, CB Trevard Lindley, S Kurt Coleman, P Brad Wing
I'm aware that this is probably a pretty tame guess at this point. Because Chip Kelly doesn't have really an existing relationship with- or a commitment to any of the players on the roster, there could be some surprise veteran cuts. See: Avant, Jason; Harbor, Clay
But for now, here is my reasoning
QB: IN: Vick, Foles, Barkley. OUTSIDE CHANCE: D. Dixon. LONG SHOT: Kinne
They'll keep three. Dennis Dixon is the X-factor here. If he doesn't do anything, it'll be Vick-Foles-Barkley. If Dixon impresses enough in TC, Chip Kelly may have to make a choice. Matt Barkley is probably the only lock, since Kelly was intrigued enough by him to draft him on a 2nd round grade. Nick Foles is probably a fairly safe bet, but neither Kelly nor the FO was impressed enough by his 2012 tape to commit to him as the guy in 2013. If Dixon tears it up and Foles looks lost, that could be an interesting problem. If Dixon really impresses, I think Vick is the one who should go. Why cut one guy with upside in favor of another? But there's the factor of Vick possibly really taking to Kelly's offense, which is probably fool's gold but is nonetheless a possibility.
RB: IN: McCoy, B. Brown. BUBBLE: F. Jones, Polk. OUTSIDE CHANCE: Tucker
Could keep three or four. Personally, I don't see how a fourth roster spot on a RB is a smart use of resources, but Chip Kelly may see things differently. It looks like this is going to be a highly up-tempo, RB-heavy attack and maybe four guys will be necessary. Shady's in and Kelly has been into Bryce Brown since High School. The third spot is a little interesting. I think it's completely open, with Felix Jones and Chris Polk holding a slight edge over Matthew Tucker. Jones has the added dynamic of being a KOR, while Polk was an Eagle in 2012. I give the edge to Felix, because of the KOR ability, but heck, even Tucker could win a spot here if he impresses.
H-Back: IN: Casey. OUTSIDE CHANGE: Igwenagu
WR: IN: D. Jackson, Maclin. BUBBLE: Avant, D. Johnson, Cooper, Benn. OUTSIDE CHANCE: Momah, Salas, Shepard, Cunningham. LONG SHOT: Murphy
Outside of DJax and Maclin, this should be wide open. I have the team keeping six guys, but that number could just as easily be five. Jason Avant is interesting. He's been a reliable player for a long time in Philadelphia, but is now 30 years old and never has had much of an upside. If three of the young guys show promise this pre-season, Avant could be on the chopping block. I think his tryout at Safety recently tells you something, too. I think Demaris Johnson's versatility and skill set make him probably the odds-on favorite to win one of the jobs up for grabs. Riley Cooper has been serviceable in stretches and does have some size to work with. Arrelious Benn is only three years removed from being the #39 overall pick, and his (albeit limited) production in Tampa Bay says he should have a slight edge over the rest. Ifeanyi Momah has great size, but is a project and most likely PS material. Greg Salas was a guy that Bill Belichick wanted to stash on his PS, but wasn't able to. Russel Shepard is a really interesting athlete who was a stud coming out of HS, but didn't really fully develop at LSU. B.J. Cunningham doesn't have any special upside qualities, but was really productive at Michigan State and spent all of 2012 on the Eagles' PS. Will Murphy, a former Chip Kelly walk-on seems like the only real camp body here. He's the Rudy of the group.
TE: IN: Celek, Ertz. BUBBLE: Harbor. LONG SHOT: Derek Carrier, Will Shaw
Brent Celek and Zach Ertz will be heavily featured. Ordinarily, Clay Harbor would be safe as the #3 Tight End, but the addition of James Casey makes things interesting. I think Harbor has been a serviceable backup TE for this team. He hasn't been special enough to warrant snaps over Celek, but has always been good enough to lock down a roster spot. Because Casey can play TE, he almost becomes the #3 TE by default. So, keeping Harbor would really mean justifying keeping four TEs. But today's NFL views the position differently than it did even five years ago, and New England had five TEs at one point last year. Still, I will admit that Harbor was my 53rd guy. Carrier is a 2012 PS holdover. Will Shaw was just signed out of Youngstown State.
OL: IN: Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, L. Johnson, Kelly, Watkins, Reynolds BUBBLE: Tennant, Vandervelde, Barbre, Wang, Kopa. OUTSIDE CHANCE: Tobin, Menkin, Quinn. LONG SHOT: Purcell
They'll keep nine or ten guys, most likely, which means there's probably only a spot or two up for grabs. The starting five and Dennis Kelly are locks. Danny Watkins and Dallas Reynolds are pretty safe. Neither may be a great O-Lineman, but you generally want backups who have proven to be capable of making a start or two. The final spot (or two) is probably between eight guys. Allen Barbre has the most experience by far and has even started seven games, but was out of football in 2012. Matt Tennant has suited up for 36 games with the Saints and Pats. Julian Vandervelde was a 5th rounder in 2011, but hasn't gotten off the PS. Ed Wang was the backup LT at the start of OTAs and Matt Kopa was on the roster at the end of 2012 and is the backup RG at OTAs. But O-Line is a tricky spot and it's quite common for UDFA rookies to make the roster. Matt Tobin was solid at a school with good OL pedigree, Iowa. Nate Menkin is a small school guy who has been on the Eagles PS in the past. Kyle Quinn was a starter at Arizona. Nic Purcell was set to transfer to Oregon from CC, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible. Remember to keep in touch with people, kids. Purcell was one of three guys signed via tryout.
DL: IN: Cox, Sopoaga, Thornton, Logan. BUBBLE: Curry, A. Dixon, Kruger, King, Geathers. OUTSIDE CHANCE: Square. LONG SHOT: Remington, Walker
Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga and Cedric Thornton are your probable starters, while Bennie Logan may not play a ton in 2013, but is expected to be in the mix from 2014 on. After that, it's almost a crap shoot. I think this is one of the most interesting spots to watch. I think the team keeps seven guys, but could go eight or skimp down to six. I think Vinny Curry has to be considered fairly safe to make the team, although I'm still not sure in what capacity. I even wonder if he might be dangled for a trade if the 4-3 Under doesn't work out for him. The sixth spot is probably Antonio Dixon's at backup NT, but he has to be better than he was in 2012. Joe Kruger, David King and Clifton Geathers I believe will battle for the final spot, with one of the losers landing on the PS. Kruger and King were 7th round draftees and while Geathers is a monstrous 6'7, 325, five previous teams over the last three years have checked him out and moved on. Damion Square was a captain on Alabama's DL last year and is the best of the UDFAs. Isaac Remington from Oregon and Daryell Walker from Hampton are bodies.
LB: IN: Barwin, Graham, Ryans, Kendrick. BUBBLE: Cole, Chaney, Phillips, Hunt, Matthews. OUTSIDE CHANCE: McCoy, E. Brown. LONG SHOT: Knott, Acho
I think they keep eight. Four starters. Four backups. Some of you may be surprised to see Trent Cole on the bubble, but a) he's 30, and this is a rebuilding team. b) he had 3 sacks in 2012. c) he's never been a rush LB. d) this is a young team rebuilding. Now, I'll admit, I'd be very surprised if it happened, and he appears to be ahead of Graham right now. But I think he has to earn a spot, especially considering how ridiculous his contract will become soon. I have to think the Eagles will keep another pass rusher (and it could be Vinny Curry). This, I think, gives Phillip Hunt an edge, although he'll have to stave off fellow ex-CFLer Chris McCoy and former 2nd round pick Everette Brown. On the inside, it will be between Jamar Chaney, Jason Phillips and Casey Matthews to for two spots, most likely. Phillips fits the scheme best. Chaney has the most experience. Matthews knows Chip Kelly best. Emmanuel Acho and Jake Knott are UDFA longshots in a crowded ILB field, although Knott could land a spot through ST.
CB: IN: C. Williams, Fletcher, Boykin. BUBBLE: Marsh, Poyer, Hughes, Lindley
Probably the only spot that doesn't have a camp body in it. All seven guys could very realistically make the roster, and typically, that means five guys will. Curtis Marsh was the highest drafted out of the group, but hasn't done much. Jordan Poyer was picked in the 7th round, but the Eagles had a mid-round grade on him. Brandon has been with the Eagles for three years already, but I personally don't have a single Hughes memory. Lindley and the Eagles have been on-again off-again since 2010. It should a wide-open battle for the final two spots.
S: BUBBLE: Allen, Chung, Phillips, Wolff, Anderson, Coleman. OUTSIDE CHANCE: Sims. LONG SHOT: Whitley
The only spot with no sure things. Patrick Chung and Nate Allen would seem the safest, but Chung has an injury history while Allen has been disappointing since a promising rookie year was cut short in 2010. Kenny Phillips, if healthy, should make it, too. While in theory it's a wide open competition for four or five spots, it's probably more of a three-man race for a spot or two. Colt Anderson is so valuable on ST, it would be a shame to see him go. Earl Wolff was a fifth-rounder this year. Kurt Coleman is an interesting case. He's an okay starter, and probably good enough to be your #3 Safety, but I think we've seen the best of Coleman, and with a lot of guys in the mix here, I think he's lost in the shuffle. David Sims and Eddie Whitley probably aren't making this team.
ST: IN: Henery, Dorenbos. BUBBLE: D. Jones, Wing
Donnie Jones and Brad Wing will fight it out. Jones has been in the league for ten years and is a two-time All-Pro selection. Wing has a huge leg, but is a headcase and a little inaccurate.