clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Philadelphia Eagles 2014 opening day roster compared to 2013

New, comments

What does the current Philadelphia Eagles opening day roster look like compared to the one from last year? Has the team improved, stayed the same, or gotten worse? Read on for a position-by-position breakdown.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks

2014: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley

2013: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley

Judgement: Better.

Michael Vick had a great summer last season and got off to a good start before getting hurt in Week 5. Nick Foles took over and, well, the rest was history: 27 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. Foles is now the starter and he's looking to prove he can maintain his impressive level of play from 2013. Mark Sanchez looks like a top backup quarterback should Foles majorly struggle or get hurt. Matt Barkley hasn't been overly impressive but you could probably do worse at third string QB.

Running Backs

2014: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk

2013: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk

Judgement: Same.

LeSean McCoy is still 26. Then again, he had a lot of touches last season. Darren Sproles is 31 but he's a proven upgrade on Bryce Brown, especially as a pass-catcher. Chris Polk is a big question mark due to his inability to stay healthy in the summer.

Wide Receiver

2014: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Brad Smith, Josh Huff, Jeff Maehl

2013: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson, Jason Avant, Jeff Maehl

Judgement: Worse.

Losing DeSean Jackson was obviously a big loss. The return of Jeremy Maclin might be able to negate Jackson's absence but that's not quite a sure thing yet. Riley Cooper showed he's capable of producing more than people expected but he's not quite a special talent. Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff are unproven rookies with potential. Brad Smith is a versatile special teams contributor and Jeff Maehl is what he is. I like Smith and Matthews over Avant and Johnson but the loss of Jackson is what weighs most here.

Tight Ends

2014: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Trey Burton

2013: Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz, Emil Igwenagu

Judgement: Better.

Zach Ertz is poised to break out and Celek is coming off a career year in yards per catch. James Casey hasn't turned out what to be what fans expected of him but he's a good special teams contributor. I doubt the Eagles will keep four tight ends active but Trey Burton is a lot more appealing than Igwenagu.

Offensive Line

2014: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Allen Barbre, [Lane Johnson], Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, David Molk

2013: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Matt Tobin, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde

Judgement: Same.

Since we're comparing opening day rosters, I have to say the Eagles are worse with Allen Barbre starting instead of the four-game suspended Lane Johnson. There's also the fact that a number of the key players up front are older and will begin to decline sooner rather than later. With that said, I still expect the Eagles offensive line to be very good until those signs of decline appear. The 2014 depth is also better than last year. David Molk has looked way more capable than Julian Vandervelde ever did as a backup center. Matt Tobin might be a future starter and both Dennis Kelly and Andrew Gardner have played well.

Defensive Line

2014: Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Brandon Bair, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart

2013: Cedric Thornton, Isaac Sopoaga, Fletcher Cox, Clifton Geathers, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Damion Square

Judgement: Better.

Cedric Thornton is a consistently good run-stopper. Fletcher Cox is only 23 and I explained earlier in the offseason why I can see him taking a leap forward. The combination of Bennie Logan and Beau Allen is a huge upgrade over Isaac Sopoaga. The team's former veteran nose tackle was so ineffective for Philadelphia. Vinny Curry might see more playing time this year and Brandon Bair appears to be an upgrade on Clifton Geathers, who was really just a big body. Bair might end up being the same but at least he's flashed unlike Geathers. Fifth round rookie Taylor Hart will probably spend most of the season as a game-day inactive.

Linebackers

2014: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman, Marcus Smith II, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Casey Matthews

2013: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Casey Matthews, Jake Knott

Judgement: Same.

The key starters are still the same: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks is the only player whom I can see improving. Ryans and Cole are both veteran players who are wearing down. Barwin is a good starter and important to the defense. Perhaps this position could improve with more playing time for Brandon Graham. The Eagles' increased use of a dime package (4 cornerbacks) could also mean less playing time for Ryans.

Cornerbacks

2014: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin(g), Nolan Carroll II, Jaylen Watkins

2013: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin(g), Jordan Poyer, Shaun Prater, Brandon Hughes

Judgement: Better.

The starters are likely the same but the depth definitely better. I wouldn't be surprised if Nolan Carroll II took over Fletcher's starting point at some time this season. If not, he's way better depth than the likes of what the Eagles had last year.

Safeties

2014: Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos

2013: Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson

Judgement: Better.

Malcolm Jenkins is WAY better than Patrick Chung. Then again, almost anyone was. Everything else is mostly unchanged. It's a little disappointing that Earl Wolff didn't challenge Nate Allen harder for a starting job but then again Allen has played well.

Specialists

2014: Cody Parkey, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos

2013: Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos

Judgement: Worse.

I know Alex Henery was the worst and I know the Eagles absolutely made the right decision to move on from him by keeping Cody Parkey. But until Parkey actually proves he's a solution to the Eagles kicker problem, I'm not going to assume he's automatically better. He has the potential to be better, but let's see it first.

Special Teams Coverage

I'm bullish on this group, which probably makes me the only person on the planet bullish about special teams coverage units. With additions of Brad Smith, Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman, Nolan Carroll and the return of Brandon Boykin, James Casey, Chris Polk, Casey Matthews (!), and Najee Goode, I expect the Eagles to have a good ST coverage unit. Let's also not forget that Donnie Jones is good at pinning the ball in the opponent's 20. And while Parkey is unproven, there's enough evidence to suggest he could actually be good at kickoffs.

Overall Judgement:

I have the Eagles better in 5 of these areas, 3 as the same, and 2 worse. The biggest weakness on offense is wide receiver, the biggest weakness on defense is the pass rush, and the biggest weakness on special teams is the kicker.

The Eagles made several additions in the offseason but most of the starters are regularly intact. The team has preached that continuity will be key heading into 2014. We'll see if they were right.

What say you?