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Assessing the Depth of the Eagles

I suspect the Eagles are far from done making moves before they go to battle with the Green Bay Packers one week from today, but with their 53 man roster set, let's take a look their strongest positions of depth, and others where they may be a little thin.

We'll go with the highly scientific "Scale of 1-10 Meter," with 1 being worst in the NFL, 10 being outstanding...

QB - Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, Mike Kafka

Depth ranking - 7. Kafka's a long-term project, and won't see the field anytime soon. Vick is a very polarizing player, and I can certainly understand if people don't like his game. He has never been an accurate passer or decision maker, but he still has that raw explosive talent. He'll see time on the field regardless of whether or not Kevin Kolb sustains an injury, but if he had to see action for an extended period of time, I'm confident he'd make his share of plays to go along with some inevitable mistakes. If you take a peek around the league, how many backup QB's are out there that you'd rather have over Vick?

RB/FB - LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell, Eldra Buckley, Leonard Weaver

Depth ranking - 2.5. McCoy had a great camp and looks like the player the Eagles hoped he would be when they drafted him last year, and Weaver is the best fullback in football. But after that it's dicey, at best. Bell in an average backup RB that has had trouble staying healthy, as he received a grand total of 8 carries this preseason (for 17 yards), all against Kansas City. Buckley is a good special teamer, but is not much of a threat in the run game. Should McCoy go down, opposing defenses are simply going to pin their ears back and go after the QB, having little respect for the run game.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Hank Baskett

Depth ranking - 9.5. Avant might be the best 3 in the game, and Cooper looks like he may follow in the footsteps of Jackson and Maclin by making significant contributions in his rookie season. Baskett is a special teams specialist that knows the offense inside and out.

TE - Brent Celek, Clay Harbor

Depth ranking - 2.5. I really like Clay Harbor, but I'm not ready for him to be my starting TE anytime soon, should Celek have to come out of a game. I'd be shocked if the Eagles didn't look to add a vet in the next day or two.

OL - Jason Peters, Winston Justice, Jamaal Jackson, Todd Herremans, Austin Howard, Reggie Wells, Mike McGlynn, King Dunlap, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles

Depth ranking - 7.5. A week ago, I would have had this number much lower, but the Eagles did an outstanding job dealing for Reggie Wells, and the unexpected early return of Jamaal Jackson is huge. The starters are Peters, Herremans, Jackson, Cole, and Justice, although I suspect that Cole's job will eventually transition over to Wells as the season progresses and Wells adapts to the Eagles' blocking schemes. Herremans is the likely backup at LT, while Wells has previous starting experience at RT. Along the interior of the line, Nick Cole started all 16 games last season (he has 22 career starts), and is the primary backup at all 3 interior OL positions. Although Cole isn't an ideal starter, he's been an outstanding role player for this offense filling in as a starter on numerous occasions and playing well. Behind Cole, Max Jean-Gilles started 5 games last season (16 career starts), and is a competent backup. McGlynn received a ton of scrutiny this preseason due to Jamaal Jackson's injury concerns and was solid, not spectacular in his preseason appearances. Austin Howard is a very intriguing offensive tackle - He had a tremendous camp and earned his way onto this roster. I'm not sure I want to see him on the field during a game that counts yet, but it's hard not to be impressed with the way he made it impossible for the coaching staff to cut him. I'm still not sure how King Dunlap made the team, but here he is... again.

DL - Brandon Graham, Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Juqua Parker, Antonio Dixon, Darryl Tapp, Antwan Barnes, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Trevor Laws

Depth ranking - 9. Let's get the starters out of the way - Cole is great, Bunkley/Patterson are who they are (outstanding clogging the middle against the run, not much in the way of pass rushers), and if you're an Eagle fan and you're not excited about Graham you don't have a pulse. Beyond that, this team has a very nice mix of DL talent. Juqua Parker had 8 sacks last year, which tied him for 20th in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, Parker is too undersized to consistently hold the point of attack against the run and was a liability in that regard. With Graham taking over as the starting LDE, Sean McDermott can give Parker a more defined role, where he can be used to his strengths. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim saw a time as an inside pass rusher in the nickle, and looks like a great try-hard guy that can be very effective as games get deep into the 3rd and 4th quarters as the offensive line tires. Graham should also be occasionally used as an inside pass rusher in the nickle defense. Barnes is a speed rusher that should see action in obvious passing situations. Tapp could be used to spell Cole on occasion (Cole rarely came off the field last year), although Tapp needs to improve on his disappointing showing in camp. Trevor Laws was one of the true pleasant surprises in camp, and could finally start to contribute as a pass rushing DT. Dixon, the Eagles 3rd DT last season, returns after winning a roster battle with rookie Jeff Owens.

LB - Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Clayton, Jamar Chaney, Omar Gaither, Moise Fokou

Depth ranking - 6. What a difference the presence of Stewart Bradley makes - This time last year, after Bradley had gone down and Gaither became the starter (leaving the depth cupboard completely bare), I might have called this category a 1.5. I mean... they signed Jeremiah Trotter... and actually put him in the lineup! Ugh. Apologies to Trot, a great former Eagle, but thank God that whole mess is over (knocking on wood). The Eagles linebacker corps was a disaster last year, and it may be the most improved unit on the team this season. Stewart, Sims and Jordan are the starters, with Omar Gaither a capable backup at all 3 LB positions. Fokou looks like a player with immense talent, but makes too many dopey decisions to be trusted as a starter. He'll see some time as the joker. Clayton, for now at least, is probably just a special teamer, but the possibilities he brings with his freakish speed and play making ability are very intriguing. The Eagles will find a role for him. Chaney is a project that the Eagles didn't want to expose to the other 31 teams. I suspect he'll be inactive for the majority of the season.

CB - Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Dimitri Patterson, Trevard Lindley, Jorrick Calvin

Depth ranking - 5.5. I really struggled with this one. Samuel and Hobbs are the starters, and I feel pretty good about that for now. As for the depth, on the one hand, it's hard not to be encouraged by the way Trevard Lindley and Dimitri Patterson played this offseason. They were awesome in camp and in the preseason games, but we've never seen Lindley play when it counts, and we've never seen Patterson play well over an extended period of time. Conversely, we have seen Hanson play well when it has counted, but he had an atrocious preseason. Calvin played well against the Jets, but I'm not going to pretend I have a strong opinion about his game. Rare occasion where I really have no idea whatsoever how the Eagles will utilize their corner depth. The common perceived hole that the experts want to pick at is corner depth, but I really feel strongly that this team has slightly above average depth at corner. Can Patterson and Lindley continue their strong play? That'll be the question.

S - Quintin Mikell, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman

Depth ranking - 2. Mikell and Allen are the starters of course. Mikell is among the best safeties in the NFL, and Allen already looks like a smooth, polished vet. Coleman, meanwhile, is the story of the preseason on the defensive side of the ball. It's remarkable how much confidence the coaching staff has in him to cut both Macho Harris and Quintin Demps, leaving a 7th round supplemental draft pick as the primary backup at both safety spots... for now. But in reality, raise your hand if you're not concerned with that thought. Just like at the TE position, the Eagles will almost certainly add a veteran safety in the next few days.

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