Philadelphia Eagles 53 Man Roster Projection: Post-OTAs/Minicamp

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

An early look at who will make the final cut.

The Philadelphia Eagles finished their 2014 offseason workout program (OTAs/minicamp) late last week on Thursday. The players and coaches are now able to enjoy a nice month of vacation before Eagles training camp begins in late July. But while the team rests, BGN does not.

Today we look at an early final 53 man roster projection. Consider this an updated version of the one I released following the 2014 NFL Draft. Mike Kaye and I each filled out our own predictions. My predictions are obviously better because I had the advantage of being in attendance for all of the Eagles spring workouts that were open to the media. (How's that for one-upping?) Let's get right to it.

The Notorious BLG

QB (3)
Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley

Foles is easily the starter. Sanchez and Barkley have had their struggles in offseason practices but Sanchez has the edge for now. G.J. Kinne could challenge for the third spot if he continues to look as good as he did in the spring. Or maybe he just ends up on the practice squad again.

RB (3)
LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk

The first two are obvious. Polk is in the lead for a third spot. Over 70% of his total offensive snaps came in the last four weeks of the 2013 season. Polk has also drawn praise from both Chip Kelly and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp for his special teams efforts. I don't see him going anywhere. Matthew Tucker has a real shot to make the roster because the team is seemingly high on him. I'm leaving him off for now until I see more out of him in training camp and preseason. Perhaps another year of practice squad for Tucker.

WR (6)
Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Brad Smith, Jeff Maehl

The first four are locks. I'd also say Brad Smith is close to being a lock. He took reps as the first team slot WR during some spring practices. He's also a standout player on special teams. Speaking of STs, that's why the Eagles will be keeping Jeff Maehl over Arrelious Benn. Benn has looked good in camp but he's not ahead of Maehl until he proves he can play well on STs and stay healthy while doing it. Benn may be the better talent at WR but remember that ST matters most for depth players. Think back to when the Eagles kept Casey Matthews over guys like Emmanuel Acho and Chris McCoy last season. McCoy/Acho stood out on the field but obviously didn't cut it enough on ST to earn a spot. In any case, the battle for the 6th WR is very much alive.

TE (3)

Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey

Celek and Ertz are obvious. Casey is one of the best ST players. If the Eagles use a lot of 2 TE sets it's very important that their third guy is a quality backup option. Undrafted free agent Trey Burton is undersized for a TE but is a player to keep an eye on. He showed off athleticism and caught everything thrown his way during spring practices. Could be an interesting practice squad player.

OL (9)
Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, David Molk, Dennis Kelly

The starters are obvious. Barbre is the top backup. The team seems to be high on Tobin, who's now taking reps at guard. Molk has to prove he can beat out Vandervelde but I think it could happen. Dennis Kelly has a good enough combination of size/athleticism/versatility/experience heading into his third year to qualify as a reserve OL.

DL (7)
Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Taylor Hart, Beau Allen, Joe Kruger

Cox and Thornton will start on the outside with Logan in the middle. Curry will come in off the bench. Those are the certainties. The combination of Hart/Allen/Kruger have never played a down in a regular season NFL game. Hart and Kruger figure to be backups on the end. Kruger is a player to keep an eye on considering he's had a full year to improve his physique and learn the system. He's reportedly gained up to 20 lbs this offseason. Rookie Beau Allen is likely battling for the backup NT spot with Damion Square.

OLB (5)
Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Marcus Smith, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman

Brandon Graham doesn't seem to be going anywhere at the moment. I regrettably left Travis Long off here because the Eagles have kept 4 OLBs last year (and one of them was converted ILB Casey Matthews). Long could easily make this team but I'm not going to give him a spot here just yet.

ILB (4)*
DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Jason Phillips, Jake Knott (suspended for first four games of the season)

Fairly straightforward. Goode and Phillips currently line up as the second team ILBs during practice. Phillips is a veteran and could be a solid contributor on ST. Knott is suspended but he's a player the Eagles still seem to be high on. Dave Fipp mentioned him as one of the team's key ST contributors.


CB (5)
Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, Jaylen Watkins

Williams and either Fletcher or Carroll will be the starting outside corners. BoyKING starts in the slot. Watkins is a backup who might also be able to contribute at safety in a pinch.

S (5)
Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos, Ed Reynolds

Jenkins and Allen will be the starters unless Wolff does something to prove he clearly belongs as the starter over Allen. The third safety will still see snaps in a rotational role. Maragos is a decent backup and leader on special teams. Reynolds is a rookie learning the ropes. He'll start off by playing ST. The Eagles kept 5 safeties last year.

K (1)
Alex Henery

Way ahead of Murderleg.

P (1)
Donnie Jones

Still the best.

LS (1)
Jon Dorenbos

Good as ever.

Mike Kaye

QB (3)
Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley
-It will be very interesting to see who will win the third-string quarterback gig for the Eagles. While it may sound unappealing for Sanchez to be the No. 2 unopposed, I do think he offers a lot in the areas of experience and leadership. I think the Eagles would be okay with him starting for a game or two. That said, I really don't know if Barkley has a future as a starter in this league if he can't beat out Sanchez. If Kinne outperforms Barkley, it may be evident that the former USC passer is just another Troy Smith, Matt Leinart and/or Colt McCoy. He's a big name college quarterback with little to show for it in the NFL. Still, I don't see him being cut and a trade would probably be tough to pull off.

RB (4)
LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker
-The first three are locks and I think Tucker is the only one really competing out of this list. I liked David Fluellen and Henry Josey in college, but I think Tucker just offers more as far as an actual backup. I'd argue that he may be the most capable immediate backup to McCoy, due to Sproles' age and size and Polk's injury history.

WR (6)
Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Arrelious Benn, Brad Smith
-The wide receiver position needs to be fully stocked with Maclin coming off injury and two rookies locked into roster spots. I think the Eagles will go with six players. Maclin, Cooper, Matthews and Huff are locked into the roster, but I think the final two spots come down to Benn, Smith and Jeff Maehl.

TE (3)
Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey
-If it's not broken, don't fix it.

OL (9)
Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, David Molk, Michael Bamiro
-The starters seem to be locked in, along with "sixth man" Allen Barbre. Tobin is a coaching staff favorite and Molk is more of a traditional center than Julian Vandervelde. I think the last spot will come down to Bamiro, Kevin Graf, Donald Hawkins and Dennis Kelly. I think Bamiro will make the team as a developmental tackle.

DL (7)
Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Taylor Hart, Beau Allen, Joe Kruger
-The starters are set, but Curry and Hart are more likely to backup Cox and Thornton, respectively. Allen likely offers more as a nose tackle than Damion Square and Kruger is probably the most versatile of the three. I think Square would be the odd man out.

OLB (5)
Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Marcus Smith, Travis Long, Bryan Braman
-I am on board with thinking that the Eagles kept Brandon Graham because they wanted to legitimately see him compete in Year 2 of the 3-4 defense. However, I also think that if an injury occurs for a team with a 4-3 defense, the Eagles could get a decent pick or player for Graham. I think Travis Long will make him this team. He was an impressive player in college but his injury recovery didn't allow him to make the team last season.

ILB (4)*
DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Jason Phillips, Jake Knott (suspended for first four games of the season)
-With Knott out for the first four games of the season, Emmanuel Acho and Jason Phillips are competing for one spot here. I think the Eagles will take advantage of Knott's situation to keep him and another inside linebacker for the first four games. Goode may eventually take over for Ryans in 2016.

CB (5)
Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, Jaylen Watkins
-Carroll may earn a starting spot, but this seems like the most reasonable expectation for the five cornerbacks in the unit.

S (4)
Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos
-I debated between four or five safeties while eliminating either a defensive lineman or outside linebacker, but I think Long and Kruger offer more with one year in the scheme than Ed Reynolds with a delayed education of an NFL defense (despite his study aboard online help) and Keelan Johnson. I think Reynolds is put on practice squad.

K (1)
Alex Henery
-Murderleg is not enough to kill Henery's spot on the roster.

P (1)
Donnie Jones

LS (1)
Jon Dorenbos

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Now that you've seen our predictions, let's see yours.

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