Here is my pre-training camp 53-man Philadelphia Eagles’ roster, the Offensive Edition. While I am clearly writing this with the expectation of some additional moves, this is how I see the 90 man roster as currently built shaping out. I’ll try to give a breakdown at every position except when painfully obvious. The position is listed and the number in parenthesis indicates how many players I think we will keep from that position. If I didn't list them, I believe them to be cut or traded...practice squad candidates are listed. With that being said, comment, feedback, rip apart, criticize…I welcome all messages!
QB (3): Vick; Foles; Barkley
It probably comes to no surprise to most of you that I think Vick will win the starting job at QB. While that is in no way a lock, I do see it as the most likely outcome. I have read about how much Foles has progressed in this offseason and though I think that is likely true, I still give the nod to Vick to start. The reason is simple. Kelly preaches a "No Turnover" policy. While many of you think that this is a concept as likely for Vick to embrace as Bill Maher becoming religious, I think that it is the way that he wants it to happen that will make Vick successful at it. I wants the QB to be decisive instead of taking what the defense gives him. Positive plays win games. So, this benefits Vick because he can now decide to take off and run instead of going through progressions and then deciding. This doesn’t increase his ability to make decisions…it instead limits the time in which to make them, forcing him to be proactive with his reads instead of reacting to them.
IMHO, Foles is likely a good, quality backup QB but not a franchise QB. If Andy Reid was still coach, I think he did enough last year to warrant coming into camp as the starter. Andy Reid is in KC and, though I believe Kelly when he says he will build his system around his starters and not other way around, I think Vick or his own pick Barkley are most likely the starters for this year, with someone eventually coming after Foles for a potential starting role. However, as it is now, this is how I see the QB battle shaking out.
RB (4): McCoy, Brown, Jones, Polk
McCoy, as one of the premier backs in the NFL, is the unquestioned starter here. He can do it all and the only reason to take him off the field is due to fatigue. That being said, it is very important to have a good stable behind him, both to keep him healthy/fresh, as well as in case of injury and fatigue with the amount of carries most expect Kelly to bring to Philadelphia. Brown, surprisingly, may have a higher ceiling than McCoy, however his blocking needs to be improved. If he can cut down on fumbling, Brown gives the Eagles a very formidable 1-2 punch, with both backs capable of running inside and outside of the tackles. Felix Jones comes in as another toy in the Kelly bag to use to create mismatches in the run game, however I don’t forsee a ton of carries for him unless one of the other two go down. And Polk comes in to move the chains and provide that off-guard option to help get those x-and-inches plays converted and drives extended.
FB/H-Back (1): Casey
With the aforementioned Polk on the roster, there is no need to keep a traditional fullback. Instead, Casey will be used as the primary lead blocker on plays that require one. His presence in the huddle and positional versatility will give defenses a lot to think about and, when combined with motioning in and out of the backfield/slot should lead to confusion on the defensive side and provide potential matchup problems with linebackers and nickel backers in coverage.
WR (5): Jackson, Maclin, Benn, Johnson, Momah
Jackson and Maclin present a ton of matchup problems on the outside. However, it is my belief that Kelly will get more out of both than AR/MM did simply because of the way he uses them. By limiting Desean Jackson to one part of the field and one or two route combinations, he limited the actual effect his speed had on the defense. A defense that has to think is a defense that is not aggressive. I think Kelly will use those two underneath much more which will also increase their effectiveness when they do go deep. Benn takes Avant’s spot in the slot as he has the upside and the YAC potential that Avant lacks. Johnson is one of the most likely benefactors of Kelly’s arrival and will steal some of Benn’s snaps in the slot. He is likely to be used in the backfield some and defense should expect to see a TON of motion. Momah is kept because he presents a lot of upside in the redzone. I can forsee a 3TE/1WR set with Momah on the outside…all players in that scenario are potential matchup nightmares. Russell Shepard makes it to the practice squad.
TE (3): Celek, Ertz, Harbor
Celek and Ertz are the clear first and second tight ends on the team. Both have a lot of potential in this scheme and though they do not have the versatility of Casey (listed as HBack), they should punish defenses that drop their safeties by working the seams heavily. Harbor sneaks onto the team because of Kelly’s desire to employ three TE sets but only sees snaps if one of the other 4 go down to injury. Will Shaw goes to the practice squad in case of injury to one of the four.
OT (4): Peters, Johnson, Kelly, Barbre
The impact of Jason Peters’ return on this offensive line cannot be overstated. He returns and keeps the oppositions best pass rusher from being discussed. The teamwork of Peters and Mathis also helps solidify the pickup of blitzers off the edge. Johnson gets the nod as the starter at RT as Kelly’s feet are not quite fast enough on the edge, even on the right. Improvements in technique can keep him as a good swing tackle though…however, he should not be relied upon to start for any length of time yet. Barbre moves well enough to be used in a bind. Nic Purcell, makes it to the practice squad as he clearly has athletic ability that interests the front office, but lacks the experience. With some experience, he could easily end up a quality starter at tackle in this league.
OG (4): Mathis, Herremans, Watkins, Reynolds
Whether you follow PFF or not, Evan Mathis is a very good guard. As stated above, he and Peters work well together to solidify the left side of the line. Herremans is, in my opinion, a much more natural guard than he is a tackle. While lacking the true strength that RGs normally present, his use of technique against players now much slower than he is should help the remainder of his career. I have been critical of him at tackle in the past, but I am fine with him at guard. Watkins and Reynolds, though not starters, provides quality depth. Reynolds also provides depth at Center.
C (1): Kelce
Kelce comes back from injury to give us the athleticism and experience we missed last season. While still likely not strong enough at the point of attack for my taste, his ability to get to the second level, to pull, and sheer athletic ability make him a good piece at center for this offense.
Well...there you go! Tell me what you think! My Defensive Edition will be coming soon!