The Philadelphia Eagles made their roster cuts today. I have some thoughts about what they did. Let’s get right to it.
1 - Explaining every cut that was made
Let’s start with my thoughts on each individual cut.
DE Alex McCalister (waived/injured) - Reverts to the Eagles’ injured reserve list if he goes unclaimed. They could try to stash him there again this year.
S Tre Sullivan (waived/injured) - Same thing as McCalister for this rookie.
LB Nate Gerry - The most notable Eagles cut since he was a fifth round pick. I always thought it was going to take Gerry some time to transition from linebacker to safety. I think he’ll end up on the practice squad since he’s a developmental guy and not someone another team is going to be eager to scoop up as an immediate contributor on their 53-man roster.
TE Billy Brown - A little surprised he was cut. Intriguing size and athleticism. Might not make it through waivers. If he does, he’s a practice squad candidate.
WR Bryce Treggs - Unfortunate he couldn’t make the team. The injury he suffered in the first preseason game might have hurt him. Treggs had a good summer and will almost certainly be picked up on waivers.
WR Greg Ward - Perfect candidate for the Eagles practice squad. His background as a former quarterback gives Philadelphia an extra practice arm. Projects as a backup slot receiver.
CB C.J. Smith - It looked like he might push for a starting job at one point. Then he fell down the depth chart following the acquisitions of Ronald Darby and Dexter McDougle. Practice squad candidate.
OL Dillon Gordon - One of the Eagles’ more surprising cuts because the team liked him as a versatile fullback/blocking tight end/sixth offensive lineman. But Gordon really struggled near the end of the preseason and now he’s gone.
OG Darrell Greene - Greene bounced on and off the practice squad last year. I thought he showed some improvement this summer, but it wasn’t enough.
DT Justin Hamilton - Deserved to be on the roster but got cut up in a numbers crunch at defensive tackle. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get claimed.
CB Jomal Wiltz - Undrafted rookie corner was never seriously pushing for a roster spot.
RB Byron Marshall - Looked better than Donnel Pumphrey (and arguably even Corey Clement) but still got cut.
C Aaron Neary - No need to keep three centers when Isaac Seumalo can also play there.
OG Dallas Thomas - Arguably played better than Chance Warmack. Has the versatility to play guard or tackle. Cut anyway.
OL Taylor Hart - Looked better at OT than DT, actually. Might be worth a practice squad spot if he was younger.
OL Josh Andrews - Nearly missed the entirety of the summer with a hand injury.
P Cameron Johnston - Hard to knock off the GOAT, Donnie Jones.
2 - Five running backs?!
Five. Five running backs.
Yes, I know the Eagles aren’t done making cuts. But really, five running backs?
None of the Eagles’ five running backs are ideal lead back types. The group as a whole is pretty uninspiring.
LeGarrette Blount had a strong year with the Patriots 2016 but didn’t look so great in the preseason. Wendell Smallwood has talent. It remains to be seen if he’s a full-time guy, though, and it’s hard to ignore his injury issues. Corey Clement is just a guy. He ran hard this summer, but he’s not much more than a third or fourth string running back. Donnel Pumphrey was simply not one of the best 53 players on the Eagles’ roster. He doesn’t look ready to contribute in the NFL right now.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles do at this position. Maybe there’s someone on waivers (Matt Jones?) that they like. Maybe they trade or cut one of these players.
For now, five running backs seems weird and, quite frankly, wasteful.
Eagles have a RB situation that the Ravens were keeping an eye on. https://t.co/BOSjVnZYPN— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) September 2, 2017
3 - Shelton Gibson deserves some credit
Gibson rebounded after dropping a lot of passes early on in camp. He’s still had some drop issues, as seen in the final preseason game, but he wasn’t struggling as much by the end of the summer. I’d argue Treggs deserved to make the roster over him, but the Eagles are probably betting on his potential. I’m sure they also didn’t want to cut two fifth-round draft picks.
4 - The 2017 NFL Draft class is looking like a mixed bag
Derek Barnett looks like a stud and he’s only 21. Mack Hollins showed he can play and be a special teams contirbutor. Elijah Qualls earned his spot on the roster.
As for everyone else, we’ll see. Gibson doesn’t contribute on special teams so he’ll likely be inactive on game day. Pumphrey will be inactive. Gerry isn’t on the team. Rasul Douglas is probably best suited as a backup/role-player for now.
Sidney Jones is really the make-or-break factor for this draft class. We’ll get a better idea of his ability to contribute when he’s fully healthy next year.
5 - The Eagles seem to like their linebacker depth.
Some have considered linebacker depth to be a concern for the Eagles. Talk is cheap, but Howie Roseman praised the team’s linebackers on Saturday evening.
Well, I think it's a credit to the other guys at that position. When you look at the guys that we kept beyond the three starters, [LB] Joe Walker had a good preseason. He's another guy coming off a knee injury. We were really bummed when he got hurt last year. He's got physical traits. It's hard to find Mike linebackers who is have shock, and he's able to do that.
Then you look at [LB] Najee [Goode]. Najee has versatility. He can back up really both the outside positions and play inside, and [he is] really a huge part of our special teams. It's important for us to be good on special teams.
And then [LB] Kamu [Grugier-Hill], when we look at Kamu, we think he has a chance to be not only one of the better special teams players on our team, but in the league. That was a tough one. That was one of the last ones we did right there. We understand it's a transition for him and it's going to take some time. But it was just the nature of the numbers game.
That praise for Kamu is especially effusive.
It’s always possible the Eagles shake things up at this spot, but maybe they just really like their guys.
6 - The Eagles look light on the offensive line
The Eagles kept 11 offensive linemen last season. This year they kept ... eight. The tackle spot is especially concerning. Jason Peters turns 36 in January and Lane Johnson is one suspension away from being banned for two years. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the only real backup tackle.
The Eagles have an offensive line target or two they like on the waiver wire. We’ll see if they end up getting their guy(s).
Speaking of waivers ...
7 - The Eagles will likely be active on the waiver wire tomorrow
Last year, the Eagles claimed three players on the waive wire: Bryce Treggs, Terrence Brooks, and Kamu Grugier-Hill. Treggs really pushed for a roster spot this year. Roseman said Brooks would have likely been on the team this year if they didn’t trade him for Dexter McDougle, who did make the team instead. Kamu is obviously still on the roster.
The point here is that, while the Eagles likely won’t find a superstar on waivers, they could still get some useful player(s).
One personnel director just predicted that he believes Sunday will see "a record amount of waiver claims." So final rosters are not final.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 2, 2017