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Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Preseason Week 3 Projection

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Who will make the final cut?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have made it halfway through the 2015 NFL preseason, it's time to take a look at an updated 53-man roster prediction. Let's see how much things have changed since last week's edition.

This roster projection is based on everything I've seen from Eagles practices as well as the team's preseason games.

OFFENSE

Quarterback (3): Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow [3]

The first two spots are locked in. Sam Bradford is clearly the team's starter, as long as he can stay upright, and Mark Sanchez is the backup. It has to be a little disappointing for the team to see Mark Sanchez not look as sharp this summer as he was last offseason.

When it comes to the third quarterback spot, I'll say what I've been saying all along: the team has tried to move on from Matt Barkley. Recent reports indicate he's still available. It's hard to see Barkley sticking around, despite the fact Tim Tebow hasn't looked much better than him. Chip Kelly is reportedly excited by Tebow for some reason.

Running Back (4): DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner [7]

The Eagles showed a glimpse of what their running back rotation might look like against the Ravens. DeMarco Murray rushed five times, Ryan Mathews ran three times, and Darren Sproles had two carries. Extrapolate those numbers over four quarters and that's about 20 attempts for Murray and 12 attempts for Mathews. That's very close to what I've projected Philadelphia's rotation to look like in the past. Sproles will likely only get a few carries but might see some more looks as a pass catcher.

Kenjon Barner and Raheem Mostert are battling for the fourth spot. It seems hard to believe the Eagles wouldn't keep Barner at this point after he's returned two punts for touchdowns. Barner's punt return means the Eagles could rely less on Sproles in that area. That could help keep the veteran fresh.

Wide Receiver (6): Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Nelson Agholor, Riley Cooper, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu [13]

Jordan Matthews looks great. Josh Huff has had a strong offseason but a quiet preseason. Nelson Agholor is flashing potential but still working through some rookie mistakes. Riley Cooper is Riley Cooper. Crafty veteran Miles Austin will seemingly rotate in at times.

For people wondering why I project Seyi Ajirotutu over the likes of Rasheed Bailey, remember: it's all about special teams. Ajirotutu led the Chargers in ST tackles the past two years. The team really likes the veteran's ability there.

Tight End (3): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton [16]

The Eagles have typically kept either four running backs OR four tight ends so since I have them keeping four rushers, it's down to three tight ends here. Brent Celek will still get on the field quite a bit due to his blocking ability. The veteran had a great seal on the Ravens during Ryan Mathews' touchdown run.

Zach Ertz's status is a bit of a mystery as the regular season slowly approaches. The team seems to think he'll be ready to return by Week 1. Until then, it's up to second-year tight end Trey Burton to step up in Ertz's absence.

Eric Tomlinson is certainly on the roster bubble here. I lean towards wanting to put him on this roster. He's looked good in camp during practice and preseason but I don't know if he's looked like a player the team has to keep. They might be able to stash him in the practice squad.

Offensive Tackle (4): Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Matt Tobin, Dennis Kelly [20]

The two starters are obvious. Matt Tobin has been shifted back out to tackle after failing to settle in at right guard. Tobin hasn't played all that well this preseason, or at least according to Pro Football Focus standards. Dennis Kelly sneaks on here since the Eagles' offensive line depth is thin.

Offensive Guard (3): Allen Barbre, Andrew Gardner, John Moffitt [23]

Andrew Gardner is the favorite to start at right guard. He's not an ideal long-term option but he's probably the best choice for Philadelphia right now. John Moffitt has really struggled. He really looks like he's been out of the league for two years. Despite this, the team might feel he can shake off that rust with more playing time and practice reps.

Center (2): Jason Kelce, David Molk [25]

These are easy choices. Jason Kelce is the starter and David Molk is the backup who can play guard in a pinch.

...

DEFENSE

Defensive End (4): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart [29]

Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton are the two starters. With Vinny Curry moving to outside linebacker to some extent, there's potentially more playing time available for backups Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart. The pair of former Oregon defensive ends have shown enough this summer to earn a roster spot.

Nose Tackle (2): Bennie Logan, Beau Allen [31]

Bennie Logan is a beast. This is an easy position to project.

Outside Linebacker (5): Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith, Bryan Braman [36]

Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin are the starters. Vinny Curry played quite a bit at outside linebacker during the Eagles-Ravens game with Marcus Smith out. While there are questions about Curry's ability to drop, the team will likely mostly have him rush the passer since that's his strength. Marcus Smith will be out a few weeks due to a hamstring strain, which is disappointing for him since he was just starting to show progress. For what it's worth, Bryan Braman is not only PFF's No. 1 overall graded OLB, but he also has the highest grade of any player in the entire NFL this preseason. He's been feasting on third string players.

Inside Linebacker (5): Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Brad Jones, Jordan Hicks [41]

None of the Eagles' top three inside linebackers have played in the preseason yet. It will be interesting to see how that rotation works out. Outside of those starters, Brad Jones is likely to stick around due to his versatility and special teams value. Jordan Hicks is a lock as well since the team drafted him in the third round.

Cornerback (5): Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, E.J. Biggers, Jaylen Watkins [46]

It's early, but Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll sure do look like big improvements over the likes of Cary Wiliams and Bradley Fletcher so far. Eric Rowe has shown some promise at the nickel cornerback position. Bill Davis said the Eagles are going to experiment with Carroll in the slot this week so that could mean Rowe will get more of a chance to show what he can do on the outside. E.J. Biggers has had a surprisingly good summer and seems like a lock at this point. Jaylen Watkins has struggled in run defense but has been OK in pass coverage. The 2014 fourth round pick's ability to play multiple positions also helps him.

Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Chris Prosinski [50]

Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond could form a pretty decent starting safety duo. The depth behind them is questionable. The Eagles rotated Chris Maragos in with the first team as a third safety during the Eagles-Ravens game, so the team might be comfortable with him getting some playing time. Chris Prosinski also has some starting experience, though he struggled with the Jaguars. Both Maragos and Prosinski are key contributors on special teams.

Ed Reynolds and Jerome Couplin are both pushing for a potential fifth safety spot here.

...

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Cody Parkey [51]

Cody Parkey missed a 55-yard attempt against the Ravens.

Punter: Donnie Jones [52]

The old man's still got it.

Long Snapper: Jon Dorenbos [53]

One of the best in the league.

...

Practice Squad (10):

QB/WR/RB G.J. Kinne, RB Raheem Mostert, WR Rasheed Bailey, CB Randall Evans, CB Denzel Rice, DE Brian Mihalik, OLB Diaheem Watkins, OL Malcolm Bunche, S Ed Reynolds, TE Eric Tomlinson.