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Predictions and roles for the Eagles' 2016 NFL Draft picks

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The Eagles added eight new players through the 2016 NFL Draft. How will they fit in during their rookie seasons?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We've recently spent time reviewing the Philadelphia Eagles' depth chart following the 2016 NFL Draft (offense | defense | special teams | 53-man prediction). We've already taken a look at where the Eagles' eight draft picks will fit in on the roster. Now it's time to figure out their specific roles and make some predictions.

QB Carson Wentz

Role

As it stands, everything indicates Sam Bradford will be the Eagles' starting quarterback in 2016. Chase Daniel will be Bradford's primary backup. That leaves Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, as the third string quarterback. If that's the case, it's possible Wentz could through the entire season without once being on the active game day roster. I don't think that's what will happen. I think Wentz has a legitimate chance to win the starting job if he outplays the veterans in camp. Assuming that doesn't happen, though, Wentz will still have an opportunity to be active if/when Bradford gets hurt and/or struggles. I'm going to say Wentz plays in at least one game this season. I'm being conservative with this guess.

Prediction

Bradford gets hurt so Daniel starts a game and then Daniel gets hurt during the game so Wentz comes in and scores a touchdown or two while also throwing a pick.

OG Isaac Seumalo

Role

Seumalo has experience playing every position on the offensive line except the one where he's competing for a starting job. The Eagles would like to see the 22-year-old rookie step up and win the battle at left guard, but he's going to have competition. If Seumalo doesn't win the starting job, he could be the first offensive lineman off the bench to fill in at either center or guard.

Prediction

Seumalo starts the season as a backup before eventually being moved into a starting role at guard due to one of the veterans getting injured or benched for poor performance.

RB Wendell Smallwood

Role

The Eagles had a big need at running back this offseason. Despite this, they didn't do all that much to address it. One of the only things they did do is draft Smallwood in the fifth round. The West Virginia running back had a nice college career but he wasn't overly impressive. Smallwood is likely the third running back on the depth chart behind veterans Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. He'll get some regular playing time. It's hard to see him as a feature back as a rookie, though.

Prediction

Smallwood gets a limited amount of touches per game as he's used in a running-back-by-comittee role. The Eagles will look to get him involved in the passing attack since he's shown some potential as a receiver.

OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Role

The Eagles drafted Vaitai with the long-term in mind. Philadelphia is already set at tackle with Jason Peters on the left side and Lane Johnson on the right. Vaitai will be a backup for now while he adjusts to the NFL. The hope is he can be a starter at right tackle for when Johnson eventually replaces Peters.

Prediction

Vaitai spends most of the season inactive on game day. He only plays if there are a lot of offensive line injuries.

DB Blake Countess

Role

The Eagles currently list Countess at safety. He might also get some looks at cornerback. The Eagles have a lot of defensive backs so he'll need to stand out in order to earn his spot.

Prediction

Depth and special teams contributor. Might be a practice squad guy.

DB Jalen Mills

Role

Many thought Mills wouldn't last until the seventh round. The Eagles took a chance on him and they're hoping it pays off. Mills is getting a look at cornerback to start his career. He has the potential to be a limited contributor as a rookie.

Prediction

Gets some playing time in dime packages and contributes on special teams.

DE Alex McCalister

Role

You can bet Jim Schwartz feels like he can't have too many pass rushers on his defense. Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Connor Barwin will obviously get a lot of playing time at defensive end. Still, there's room for a potential pass rushing specialist like McCalister. He's not ready to be a full time starter due to his slight frame relative to his position but I think he can contribute nicely as a role player.

Prediction

McCalister will play in a rotational role and notch a sack or two this season.

LB Joe Walker

Role

Linebacker depth was an underrated need for the Eagles heading into the draft. The Eagles addressed the position in the seventh round by taking Walker. He has the chance to win a roster spot by merely looking competent there and being a good special teams player.

Prediction

Special teams, special teams, special teams. Or practice squad.