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Predicting the Eagles’ 53-man roster after the first week of training camp practice

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Who’s in and who’s out?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Training Camp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been one week since (you looked at me) the Philadelphia Eagles began their 2017 training camp practice schedule. We've learned quite a few things about the outlook of this year's team since then. Now it's time to take that knowledge and make an updated 53-man roster prediction. Let's see how much things have changed since the last projection done prior to the start of training camp.

OFFENSE

Quarterback - Carson Wentz, Nick Foles (2) [2]

After struggling in spring practices, Wentz has really turned it around and looked great during camp. His perfect performance on Saturday was the first moment of camp that really made me want the season to start ASAP. Foles hasn’t looked so great this offseason. He’s still the backup, though. McGloin has been up and down. He’s been able to take a lot of reps with Foles missing practice time due to the birth of his child and now a sore elbow. The feeling here is the Eagles should only keep two quarterbacks on the main roster because that extra spot could be better used elsewhere. In that case, the Eagles can just keep Dane Evans on the practice squad as the third string guy.

Running back - LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood (4) [6]

Blount is in shape and running well. He’s also showed competency as a pass catcher. Sproles is still very much Sproles. Pumphrey seems to be more of a receiver than a runner, though he still obviously lines up in the backfield a lot. Hearing coaches talking about “the short passing game is an extension of the run game” can be a little eye-roll worthy sometimes, but that’s what the Eagles seem to be going for with Pump. He catches a lot of short passes. Smallwood hasn’t stood out much other than a few nice moments.

Wide receiver - Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson (6) [12]

Jeffery is a beast. Such a great player to pair with Wentz due to his jump ball ability. Get the idea that Smith is going to be a surprise cut out of your heads. He’s definitely one of the best receivers on this team. Matthews seems to be healthy. He’s still the main slot guy. Agholor had a quiet start to camp but he picked things up in the open practice at the Linc. He’s pushing for playing time. Hollins has showed ability to get separation and it’s clear he can contribute on special teams. The Eagles have mixed Johnson in with the first team and he’s produced when given the chance. Shelton Gibson has dropped so many passes that I can’t put him on the team or the practice squad. The Eagles’ best bet could be to stash him away on the injured reserve list.

Tight end - Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton (3) [15]

This position is pretty cut and dry. Ertz is the starter, Celek blocks, and Burton is a special teams contributor who moonlights as an offensive role-player. Anthony Denham and Billy Brown are competing for a potential fourth tight end spot here. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from both of them. Denham has an edge when it comes to blocking but Brown is the better receiver.

Offensive line - Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Stefen Wisniewski, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Chance Warmack, Dillon Gordon, Tyler Orlosky (10) [25]

The Eagles’ starting lineup is now set with Allen Barbre gone and Seumalo manning the left guard position. Warmack has taken some first team reps at that spot, but it’d be surprising to see him unseat Seumalo. Wisniewski is likely the top backup at all the interior positions. Big V is the swing tackle. Pederson specifically praised him and Gordon when explaining why the team was comfortable moving on from Barbre. With Kelce’s future uncertain beyond this year, Orlosky could be worth keeping around with the long-term in mind. Matt Tobin and Josh Andrews were tough cuts here because: 1) the Eagles are light on tackle depth in this configuration and 2) Andrews made the team last year and still lines up as the second team right guard. This isn’t the easiest position group to figure out.

DEFENSE

DE: Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Steven Means (5) [30]

Graham and Curry are the starters. Barnett and Long should get a decent amount of playing time in the defensive line rotation. Means needs to play well on special teams in order to be active on game day. He’s also competing for a spot with 2016 seventh-round pick Alex McCalister, whom Jim Schwartz said is a “good, young player in the pipeline.”

DT: Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls (4) [34]

Cox and Jernigan should combine to form a dangerous duo. Vaeao seems like an acceptable backup behind them. After that, the depth is very thin. Qualls missed a lot of spring practices and he struggled in one-on-ones before getting hurt this week. I’m penciling him in because he was a draft pick and there’s no obvious name to put ahead of him, but I’m hardly considering Qualls a lock at this moment. The Eagles really need Beau Allen to get healthy.

LB: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Najee Goode, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker, Don Cherry (6) [40]

Hicks is largely fine after breaking his pinky last month. Bradham won’t be going to jail for his off field incidents last year but he’s still subject to be suspended. Goode is the top backup linebacker at all three positions. Grugier-Hill has made some plays in practice. He could be an interesting WILL candidate who also contributes on a special teams. Speaking of special teams, it’s interesting to note that Cherry lines up on kickoff coverage with a group of players who are all roster locks except him. So maybe that’s a sign he’ll make the team? He’s had some good moments in practice. Walker provides depth behind Hicks and can also play special teams. Nate Gerry is also in the mix at this spot but I’m predicting he ends up in the same boat at Gibson. The linebacker battle is interesting. Mychal Kendricks doesn’t make my projection because I think the Eagles will start to feel good enough about their linebacker depth that they decide to trade him.

CB: Jalen Mills, Kyle Fuller, Ron Brooks, Rasul Douglas, C.J. Smith, Aaron Grymes (6) [46]

Mills has been the Eagles’ best corner this offseason, though that’s not really saying much. He’s still prone to getting beat deep. I’m not sure who’s going to start opposite from him. Patrick Robinson might be the favorite but he’s been getting roasted by 2016 practice squad quarterback-turned-wide-receiver David Watford ... and others. For now I’ll project the Eagles cut him (no guaranteed money) and trade for Kyle Fuller. The former first round pick could benefit from a change of scenery and he’ll have an opportunity for playing time here in Philly. Brooks is the team’s slot corner. Douglas does not look ready to play a full season of starting reps. He’s also been getting burned. Smith lines up with the second team outside cornerbacks so that seems like a good sign for his roster chances. Smith seems to hold his own in coverage. Grymes gives the Eagles depth at the nickel spot.

S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Terrence Brooks, Chris Maragos (4) [50]

The battle for the third safety job is over in my mind. Brooks has been too good for the Eagles not to keep him. Jaylen Watkins hasn’t been terrible but Brooks is just better. Maragos still provides value as the special teams captain and an emergency safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker - Caleb Sturgis (1) [51]

I’ve only seen Sturgis miss one kick and it was from far out. He’s definitely not struggling.

Punter - Donnie Jones (1) [52]

Jones said he’s got four more seasons in him.

Long snapper - Jon Dorenbos (1) [53]

No question.

INJURED PLAYERS

Sidney Jones and Beau Allen opened training camp on the active/non-football injury list. This means they can be activated at any time. If they’re not, they can eventually be placed on the regular season NFI list, which means they’ll have to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. They won’t count towards the roster limit during this time.

Allen has a better chance of being active for Week 1 than Jones does. It’s no guarantee, though.

PRACTICE SQUAD (10)

QB Dane Evans, RB Corey Clement, WR Greg Ward, TE Billy Brown, OG Darrell Greene, DE Alex McCalister, DT Winston Craig, LB Steven Daniels, CB Jomal Wiltz, CB Mitchell White