The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up their spring workouts last week on Thursday. Players and coaches will now be able to enjoy their vacation until training camp begins on Sunday, August 2. But while the teams rests, BGN never does.
Here's an updated final 53-man roster projection. The last time we did one of these was following the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, we've learned a lot about the Eagles' roster. The team's OTAs and minicamp practice sessions helped clear up some question marks on the depth chart. A lot of position battles are still yet to be won but this activity will give us a general sense of what the final roster should look like. We'll revisit this activity multiple times throughout the offseason.
QB: Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley (3)
If Sam Bradford is healthy, he's the starter. He said he expects to be ready for training camp. If Bradford isn't healthy, the Eagles have to feel encouraged by the progress Mark Sanchez has made. He had a good spring and looks way more comfortable in the offense than he did at this point last offseason. When it comes to the third quarterback spot, Matt Barkley currently has the edge over Tim Tebow. The Eagles have tried to move on from Barkley but Tebow had a really rough spring. Maybe Tebow can turn things around in training camp, but for now he has a lot of ground to make up.
RB: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Matthew Tucker (4)
Running back coach Duce Staley said he doesn't think rotating his main trio of running backs will be hard. DeMarco Murray will take the bulk of the carries while Ryan Mathews should get a decent amount of touches. Darren Sproles has been working with the receivers as well as the running backs this spring. Perhaps the Eagles are gearing up to use him in more of a pass catching role. Matthew Tucker earns a spot here due to special teams ability and injury insurance. Murray and Mathews both have significant injury histories while Sproles is aging and got hurt last year. With the Eagles expected to rely heavily on the run game, having extra depth makes sense here.
WR: Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, Nelson Agholor, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu (6)
Jordan Matthews got some work on the outside during the spring but the bulk of his reps came while he was in the slot. Josh Huff and Riley Cooper are currently the first team wide receivers on the outside. Rookie first round pick Nelson Agholor flashed some real impressive talent and will immediately challenge for playing time. Miles Austin's role is unclear (aside from veteran leadership), but maybe he'll rotate in at some point. Seyi Ajirotutu is a special teams ace who looks like he can be a quality backup.
TE: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton (3)
Zach Ertz looks primed to have a big year. Everyone said that last year, and Brent Celek is still around, but he should at least take another step forward this season. The Eagles see improvement in his blocking which should earn him more playing time. However, Celek is still heck of a blocker and the Eagles won't be disposing of him any time soon, especially if they're going to rely heavy on the run game. Trey Burton could replace James Casey's limited offensive role while mostly contributing on special teams. It's possible the Eagles keep a fourth tight end, but none of the UDFA players have impressed yet. This could be a position where Philadelphia looks to add a depth player through the waiver wire after final cuts.
OT: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Andrew Gardner (3)
Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are two high quality starting tackles. Jeff Stoutland says he believes the Eagles truly have two left tackles. In the event of injury, Andrew Gardner could be the swing tackle off the bench unless the Eagles move Allen Barbre over to tackle and put him in at guard instead.
OG: Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, Kevin Graf (3)
The Eagles are really high on Barbre for some reason. They wouldn't have released Evan Mathis if they believed otherwise. The Eagles also seem to be high on Matt Tobin still but the young player will need to earn his starting spot by beating out the likes of Gardner and Dennis Kelly. Kevin Graf is a 2014 UDFA whom Chip Kelly has mentioned unprompted during several of his press conferences. He spent last season on the practice squad, and he might be able to play both guard and tackle.
C: Jason Kelce, David Molk, Josh Andrews (3)
Jason Kelce is obviously the starter. David Molk settled in nicely after some early struggles last year while filling in for Kelce. Josh Andrews is more of a guard who can play center. The 2014 UDFA spent last year on the practice squad and could earn a spot due to his versatility (plus Pac-12 bias!).
DE: Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Taylor Hart (4)
Fletcher Cox is a beast. Cedric Thornton is a really good run stopper who will likely rotate with Vinny Curry once again on passing downs. After gaining 25 pounds of muscle, 2014 fifth round draft pick Taylor Hart could be ready to step up and overtake Brandon Bair as the fourth defensive end.
NT: Bennie Logan, Beau Allen (2)
Not much change here from last year. Bennie Logan is the starter and Beau Allen will rotate in as the backup.
OLB: Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Bryan Braman (4)
Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham are the clear starters. Marcus Smith missed some time this spring after suffering a groin injury in the team's second OTA practice, but he returned to the field. Smith needs to step up and earn the third outside linebacker job because it won't be handed to him. Bryan Braman figures to be a special teams contributor yet again. The team was high on Travis Long before he got hurt last year, so he could push for a spot here but I'm leaving him off for now.
ILB: Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Brad Jones, Jordan Hicks (5)
So many inside linebackers! Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks were the first team inside linebackers during the spring, but DeMeco Ryans wasn't really participating in team drills due to his recovery. So it'll be interesting to see how this group shakes out when he gets healthy. Brad Jones earns a spot due to special teams contributions and the ability to also play outside linebacker. Rookie third round pick Jordan Hicks looked good in coverage but he's buried behind a deep group.
CB: Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Brandon Boykin, Eric Rowe, JaCorey Shepherd, Jaylen Watkins (6)
The Eagles' depth here is so much better than it was last year. Byron Maxwell is a lock to be a starter while Nolan Carroll is currently the favorite at the other starting spot. Some think Eric Rowe might overtake Carroll, which I wouldn't rule out, but the team seems to be high on Carroll. Coaches and teammates have raved about the veteran. Brandon Boykin will resume his role in the slot. Sixth round rookie JaCorey Shepherd had a strong spring and could be a very nice depth player to have. Shepherd spent some time shadowing Boykin in the slot during formation drills at times so maybe he's learning that position for the future. Jaylen Watkins earns a spot due to his position versatility at safety and cornerback.
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Chris Prosinski (4)
Malcolm Jenkins is the only lock to be a starter, but Walter Thurmond doesn't seem that far behind. There are still question marks about Thurmond transitioning from cornerback to safety but there are reasons to be optimistic. He impressed during the spring. The real test will come when the pads go on. Chris Maragos and Chris Prosinski both earn spots due to their special teams skills. As noted in the cornerback position group, Watkins serves as depth here too. Earl Wolff, who wasn't able to participate in team drills this spring, could easily be on the outside looking in.
K: Cody Parkey (1)
Cody Parkey missed multiple kicks during one practice but otherwise looked fine. His kickoff attempts also looked good.
P: Donnie Jones (1)
Kip Smith doesn't have chance to unseat Donnie Football.
LS: Jon Dorenbos (1)
Aging, but still the best long snapper in the league.
Practice Squad (10):
QB/WR/RB G.J. Kinne, WR Rasheed Bailey, WR Devante Davis, DE Brian Mihalik, CB Randall Evans, OL Brett Boyko, OL Cole Manhart, NT Wade Keliikipi, TE Justin Tukes, S Jerome Couplin