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Eagles 53-man roster prediction: NFL Preseason Week 2 Edition

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Here's who might make the final cut.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles completed their first preseason game on Thursday evening with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now that I've seen over two weeks of practice and one preseason game, it's time for an updated 53-man roster projection.


Quarterback - Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel Carson Wentz (3) [3]

Bradford's done nothing to lose his starting job. Daniel, though, could be standing on more shaky ground. The veteran could conceivably lose his backup spot if he continues to struggle while Wentz looks good. I'll still keep Daniel ahead of Wentz for now. The Eagles have been pretty insistent about not rushing Wentz and Daniel didn't get any help from his blocking or receiving. The calls for Wentz will persist, though, if he continues to flash potential like he did during the team's first preseason game.

Running back - Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner, Wendell Smallwood (4) [7]

Mathews is healthy (for now) and he looks really good. I'll lean on offensive coordinator Frank Reich for his assessment of the team's most veteran rusher: "Sproles is, I mean, Sproles is Sproles. He's the best." Smallwood has missed nearly a week of practice and one game with a quad injury. He's missing valuable reps, which could allow Barner to jump him in the rotation. Barner played relatively well in the preseason opener. He averaged five yards per carry on seven attempts and also had a 47 yard kickoff return.

Wide receiver - Jordan Matthews, Chris Givens, Nelson Agholor, Rueben Randle, Paul Turner (5) [12]

Matthews will most of the preseason with a knee injury, which isn't great. Without Matthews, the Eagles easily have the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL. No one is really reliable enough to make a play. Everyone struggles with drops. It's truly a dreadful group. Agholor was invisible on Thursday night. Givens didn't play much, so that could be a sign the Eagles are high on him and want to keep him healthy. Randle made a bone-headed penalty and his effort was seriously questionable. If I had to put money on it, I think Huff makes the team, but I'm so out on him that I have to leave him off this projection. He had a really bad fumble last night. It's not just that one mistake, though. These errors have been happening since his rookie season. He's really struggled with drops during offseason practices. Turner has earned praise from the coaching staff and he actually led the Birds in receiving on Thursday with six receptions for 34 yards. This group is very, very discouraging.

Tight end - Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Chris Pantale (4) [16]

Three tight end sets might be the Eagles' only hope on offense this year. The Eagles scored their first touchdown on such a set where all three were stacked on the right side of the offensive line and Mathews ran behind them. Burton's snaps were low in the game, which is a sign the Eagles are saving him. Good call. Pantale hasn't had a great camp but the Eagles seem to like him as their fourth tight end/fullback combo.

Offensive line - Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, {Lane Johnson}, Stefen Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Tobin, Dennis Kelly, Halapoulivaati Vaitai (9) [25]

Note there are 10 names listed here but only nine roster spots accounted for. That's because Johnson is reportedly facing a 10-game suspension. Thought it's not official, the Eagles seem to be preparing to lose Lane, so my projection will have him out as well. If Johnson does gets suspended, it could be Tobin or Kelly at right tackle. Wiz is the top backup at any interior spot. Johnson's potential suspension helps Big V earn a roster spot here because the Birds will need more tackle depth.


Defensive tackle - Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Mike Martin, Taylor Hart (4) [29]

Cox and Logan already look like beasts in the 4-3. Martin is missing some time due to a knee injury, but I think he's locked in as the third DT. The fourth spot is really up for grabs. It's likely going to come down to Taylor Hart, Beau Allen, and Destiny Vaeao. The Eagles could keep Hart and hope to stash Vaeao on the practice squad.

Defensive end - Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Steven Means, Bryan Braman (5) [34]

Graham and Curry should really be getting the most snaps at defensive end because they're really valuable pass rushers. Graham can also play the run and Curry had a nice run stop in the first preseason game as well. Means recorded a strip-sack against the Buccaneers and continues to make a case for the Eagles to keep him instead of Marcus Smith. Braman is a much more useful special teams player than Smith.

Linebacker - Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Joe Walker (5) [39]

The Eagles are reportedly interested in trading for an inside linebacker and they've also shown interest in Stephen Tulloch. Nothing has happened yet, though, and maybe nothing will. Walker looked OK in the first game outside of one really bad whiff. The Eagles can also trade for someone or add Tulloch later if Walker proves to be unreliable. Goode is not only a versatile backup to have but he also contributes on special teams. He stripped the Buccaneers' kick returner on the opening kickoff.

Cornerback - Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Nolan Carroll, Jalen Mills, Eric Rowe, C.J. Smith (6) [45]

McKelvin, Brooks, and Carroll will likely play the most out of this group. Mills really struggled on Thursday. He's had a strong camp but he got burned by the deep ball in game action. He also missed really badly on some tackle attempts. Rowe wasn't much better. The 2015 second round pick also got lost in coverage at times. One cornerback who did play well was North Dakota State's C.J. Smith. I've been bullish on Smith since he's stood out at times during camp. He had a few pass breakups and a game-sealing interception to beat the Bucs. I'll show him some love for that, plus the Eagles need all the help they can get at corner.

Safety - Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jaylen Watkins, Chris Maragos, Blake Countess (5) [50]

Jenkins and McLeod are obviously the starters. Watkins has really showed signs of improvement this summer. He had a few deflections and a dropped interception against Tampa Bay. He's looked good in practice, too, so I'm thinking he could actually be the No. 3 safety. Maragos picked off an overthrown deep ball by Mike Glennon. It wasn't an incredible play, but it was the one that needed to be made. The rookie Countess is falling on the depth chart because the players ahead of him are playing well. I think he's shown enough promise to not get cut, though.


Kicker - Caleb Sturgis (1) [51]

Sturgis did a great job with his kickoff attempts, nailed a 42-yard field goal, and made his PAT attempt. He did nothing to lose his edge over Cody Parkey.

Punter - Donnie Jones (1) [52]

Jones still looks pretty good.

Long snapper - Jon Dorenbos (1) [53]

Dorenbos didn't snap at all in the Eagles' first preseason game. The whole game was given to UDFA rookie John DePalma. Nice break for the 36-year-old.


Practice Squad (10)

RB Byron Marshall, WR Marcus Johnson, WR Cayleb Jones, OG Darrell Greene, DE Alex McCalister, DT Destiny Vaeao, LB Myke Tavarres, LB Quentin Gause, CB Aaron Grymes, S Ed Reynolds