The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a total of eight new players from the 2016 NFL Draft. The team also added 16 signings via undrafted free agency. Now let's take a look at what the team's 2016 projected depth chart looks like with respect to these draft additions. We reviewed the offense and the defense so far. Today we'll finish up by looking at the all important special teams unit. (Before we get started, look at how different the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)
1) Cody Parkey
2) Caleb Sturgis
Kicker battle! Parkey wasn't perfect in 2014 but he had a very good season for a rookie kicker. He broke the Eagles' single-season record for points scored at only 22 years of age. Unfortunately for Parkey, his 2015 campaign was cut short when he tore three muscles in his groin. The Eagles signed Sturgis to replace Parkey and things got off to a rough start. The former Dolphins kicker missed two extra points and one field goal in his first two games with Philadelphia. Sturgis eventually settled in. He only missed one field goal in the last seven weeks of the season.
This a true training camp competition. The kicker that plays the best this summer will keep their job. I'll give Parkey the edge for now. He's a few years younger than Sturgis and he showed good potential as a rookie.
1) Donnie Jones
2) Ryan Quigley
Punter battle! Jones is still getting it done despite the fact he'll turn 36 years old in July. The job is his to keep unless he struggles and is clearly beat out by Quigley, but I don't think that will happen. I think Quigley is around just to make sure Jones doesn't have to kick all the punting reps in practice. Donnie deserves some rest.
1) Jon Dorenbos
2) John DePalma
Long snapper battle! Dorenbos has been with the Eagles since 2006. But is this his last camp with the team? He turns 36 in July and the Eagles gave an "unprecedented" amount of guaranteed money ($25,500) to undrafted free agent long snapper DePalma. I'm guessing Dorenbos keeps his job here, but he might actually have to fight for it.
1) Josh Huff
2) Byron Marshall
3) Hunter Sharp
Kick return battle! Huff returned 21 kicks for 498 yards last season, which is an average of 23.7 yards per return. Meh. In his final season at Oregon, Marshall returned 14 kicks for 385 yards, which is an average of 27.5 yards per return. Sharp put up some good numbers last year at Utah State. He had seven returns for 248 yards (35.4) average and a touchdown. The Eagles have some options at this position.
1) Darren Sproles
2) Kenjon Barner
3) Leodis McKelvin
Sproles is still one of the best returners in the NFL. He turns 33 in June. Barner has shown nice punt return ability as well. McKelvin, who turns 31 in September, isn't the same threat on punt returns as he used to be.
Key names include Trey Burton, Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman, Najee Goode, and Jaylen Watkins. This is an area where late round picks, UDFAs, and veteran backups will need to shine in order to earn a roster spot.
1) Donnie Jones
2) Ryan Quigley
Holding has never been an issue for Jones.