Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have been through twelve training camp practices and one preseason game against the Chicago Bears, it's time to take a look at an updated 53-man roster projection. Bleeding Green Nation hasn't done one of these since prior to the start of training camp, so let's see how things have changed since July 24th, 2014.
This is my roster projection based on everything I've seen from not only after the first preseason game last Friday against the Bears but also from personally attending the Eagles spring practices (organized team activities/mandatory minicamp) and training camp practices every day.
BLG's 53-man roster
QB: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley (3)
Foles struggled on Friday night and he's thrown some interceptions in camp but let's not overreact. Sanchez has looked really good in camp and preseason. There shouldn't be any doubt he's the number two quarterback. Barkley has been up and down but overall I think he's shown some improvement.
RB: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker (4)
Shady is Shady and Sproles is Sproles, it's really that simple. Polk has been missing a lot of practice with a hamstring injury but it seems he might be able to return soon. Last week Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Matthew Tucker is "firmly entrenched" in the fourth running back spot. Aside from a downright egregious fumble against the Bears, Tucker looked solid with 40 yards on 8 attempts (5.0 average). It should be noted that Tucker left the game with a hamstring injury so he's dealing with that now as well.
WR: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Brad Smith, Jeff Maehl (6)
Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, and Huff are locks. Brad Smith is still taking all the first team repetitions so I don't think he's going anywhere. The sixth and final spot comes down to Ifeanyi Momah, Arrelious Benn, of Jeff Maehl at this point. I still give Maehl the edge because he's a special teams contributor that Kelly trusts. Momah has potential but I'm just not sure Kelly figures he can rely on him to contribute on special teams, which is necessary from a depth receiver especially should an injury occur. Benn hasn't had a very impressive summer.
TE: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey (3)
This is a pretty solid set of tight ends. Celek is a great blocker and can still contribute to the passing game. Ertz is going to be a dangerous weapon in the middle of the field. Casey is great on special teams and serves as important depth should one of Celek or Ertz go down.
OL: OT Jason Peters, OG Evan Mathis, C Jason Kelce, OG Todd Herremans, OT Allen Barbre, OT Andrew Gardner, OG Matt Tobin, C David Molk (8)
Right tackle Lane Johnson will also obviously make the roster but he'll be on the suspended list for four games so he doesn't count against the final 53. The five starters are fairly obvious. The backups weren't so obvious prior to the first preseason game but now it seems clear that the group of Gardner/Tobin/Molk/Kelly are the favorites to earn depth jobs. Just take a look at the Eagles/Bears snap counts to see what I mean. I left Kelly off for now because the Eagles will have 9 (plus onMolk is even more of a lock now that Julian Vandervelde recently had back surgery and will miss time.
DL: Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Taylor Hart, Joe Kruger, Beau Allen (7)
The starters are obvious. Everyone loves Vinny Curry and wants him to start but he just doesn't fit the Eagles two-gap defense. He will likely play in a rotational role off the bench. Speaking of rotational roles, Beau Allen could see some time spelling Bennie Logan off the bench. Taylor Hart and Joe Kruger, who generally impressed against the Bears, also deserve roster spots.
ILB: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Emmanuel Acho (4)
Ryans and Kendricks will start on the inside. The Eagles seem to really like Goode as their third inside linebacker and I wouldn't be surprised to see him steal some playing time away from Ryans. The fourth linebacker spot is up for grabs. I'm giving it to Acho now because he's had a good summer. Then again, you could have said the same about him last year. Jake Knott starts the season on the suspended list.
OLB: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Marcus Smith II, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman (5)
Cole and Barwin will start while Marcus Smith II, who showed promise against the run and in pass coverage, should get playing time. It remains to be seen what the Eagles do with Graham, who seems like one of the better pass rushers on the team. They could keep him, they could cut him, they could trade him. I just have no idea. Braman is a special teams ace that was signed on the second day of free agency for a reason. Travis Long was a really tough cut here.
CB: Cary Williams, Nolan Carroll II, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Jaylen Watkins (6)
Williams and Fletcher are the starters for now. Carroll II is dealing with a hamstring injury but I still think he can steal a starting spot. If not, he'll still see playing time. Brandon Boykin is obviously the best slot cornerback. Jaylen Watkins has had a quiet camp and struggled in the preseason. Meanwhile, veteran cornerback Curtis Marsh has had a good summer. I think the Eagles would be wise to hang onto Marsh so Watkins doesn't have to play just yet.
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos (4)
Jenkins is the only lock as a starter. Given his summer and preseason performance, I'd say Nate Allen has the edge in the safety battle right now but it's still not 100% decided. Chris Maragos is a backup and key special teams contribute. Rookie Ed Reynolds II lands on the injured reserve list with a phantom injury.
ST: Kicker Alex Henery, Punter Donnie Jones, Long Snapper Jon Dorenbos (3)
Practice Squad (8): OLB Travis Long, TE Trey Burton, DE Brandon Bair, OG Karim Barton, WR Ifeanyi Momah, DB Davon Morgan, QB G.J. Kinne, WR Will Murphy
Now it's YOUR turn. Predict the Eagles final 53 man roster below in the comments.