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Eagles 53-man roster projection after 3 preseason games

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Who will make the final cut?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been learned about the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster outlook through three preseason games. Now it’s time to take that knowledge and make an updated 53-man roster projection. Let’s see how much things have changed since last week’s prediction.

OFFENSE

QB: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld (3) [3]

It’s been one week since Wentz returned to participating in 11-on-11 during practice. The Eagles’ franchise quarterback also had a really encouraging workout before the Browns game. There’s optimism he can play Week 1, but we’ll see. Foles has looked TERRIBLE through two preseason games so far. He needs to be much better than he has if he starts in Week 1. Sudfeld will be the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback in 2019.

RB: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood (4) [7]

Ajayi, Sproles, and Clement should all be ready to go by Week 1. They’re likely the only three backs who will be active on game day. With that in mind, it’s kind of silly how there’s so much focus on the fourth running back spot. That being said, I think the Eagles should go with Josh Adams as their fourth guy. So why do I have Smallwood listed here instead? Well, I think the team will try to stash Adams on the injured reserve list. The undrafted rookie has been dealing with an injury issue. Smallwood showed some signs of life in the Cleveland game. Nothing overly impressive but generally solid, which is the perfect way to describe him at his best. I think Donnel Pumphrey gets stashed on the practice squad if no one claims him on waivers. It’s also possible the Eagles just go with three running backs and one guy on the practice squad. Multiple options here.

WR: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Shelton Gibson, Mack Hollins, DeAndre Carter (6) [13]

It’s still unclear if Jeffery will be ready for Week 1 but he seems to be making good progress. He was seen wearing a helmet while doing some rehab work on an off field during practice last week. Agholor has missed the entire preseason but the indication is he’ll be ready for September 6. Wallace has been better in practice than preseason games. I’m moving Gibson up on the depth chart since he’s had such a good summer. We recently learned that Hollins is making his way back from offseason sports hernia surgery. Hopefully he’ll be more effective when he’s back to being 100%. Carter has earned his spot on this team with a nice showing in both training camp practices and preseason games. He provides some depth in the slot behind Agholor.

TE: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins (4) [17]

Will the Eagles keep three or four tight ends? It was looking like they’d only keep three before Rodgers got hurt, but now they might need to keep a fourth since Rodgers is “week-to-week” with a knee injury. Rodgers was seen with a bulky brace on his knee in the locker room last week; reporters got the sense he’s not going to be ready to play soon. If that’s the case, keeping Perkins could make sense. He has some NFL experience as he appeared in eight games with the Falcons back in 2016. (Hmm, that just so happens to be the team the Eagles are playing in Week 1.) Perkins has seemingly been ahead of Billy Brown on the depth chart this offseason. Despite being one of only three healthy tight ends in the Eagles vs. Browns game, Brown didn’t get a single offensive snap.

OL: Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Pryor, Jordan Mailata (9) [26]

It’s hard to feel awesome about the Eagles’ offensive line right now with Big V looking like a train wreck out there. His confidence appears to be shot. Not great. Seumalo showed his value to the team the other night by filling in at three spots in one games: tackle, guard, and center. Pryor’s presence should make Warmack, who can be traded to save $1.65 million in cap space, expendable. Mailata has shown enough progress to be worth rostering. No need to expose him to getting picked up by another team. He’s really the sixth offensive tackle (at best) on the depth chart, anyway, with Peters, Johnson, Vaitai, Seumalo, and Pryor all potentially ahead of him. It’s worth mentioning there’s always a chance Jeff Stoutland could randomly pine for a guy like Darrell Greene here. Remember how Josh Andrews made the roster for the past two seasons? Yeah, something like that.

DEFENSE

DE: Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Steven Means, Josh Sweat (6) [32]

It’s unclear whether Graham will be ready for Week 1. Him coming off the PUP list was a good sign, for sure. It’s not the end of the world if he can’t play because the Eagles are stacked at defensive end. Means and Sweat could reasonably be starters for another team. I wonder if another team desperate for pass rush help will come calling for Means. Barnett showed some positive signs against the Browns, which was encouraging. Bennett also reminded us that he’s a really good player as well.

DT: Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector (4) [36]

Cox continues to look unstoppable. The worry about the rest of the defensive tackle position should be somewhat assuaged after watching Ngata have a good game against Cleveland. The 34-year-old vet showed some nice juice as a pass rusher. Hector, an undrafted rookie, also continues to show promise. He’s clearly surpassed 2017 sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls on the depth chart.

LB: Jordan Hicks, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry, LaRoy Reynolds, Joe Walker (5) [41]

Reminder that Nigel Bradham doesn’t appear here because he’s suspended for Week 1. He won’t be on the original 53-man roster. Hicks is looking like a beast again now that’s healthy. Great to see. Grugier-Hill got the start at weakside linebacker against Cleveland, so maybe he’s going to end up as the starter there. Gerry doesn’t appear to be too far behind in that battle, though, if at all. Reynolds provides versatility and special teams ability as a depth player. I considered leaving Walker off this list because he doesn’t do a ton for me and it doesn’t seem necessary to keep six linebackers once Bradham returns. Maybe he’ll be the guy who gets the axe. It just seems like the team likes him a little bit more than I do. Once again, Corey Nelson is not listed here since it could potentially cost the Eagles a sixth-round pick by keeping him.

CB: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox (5) [46]

Darby has had a fantastic summer. Same goes for Mills. I still have a hard time placing Jones’ performance. Pro Football Focus has him graded out as the fourth best corner in the preseason. That seems curious to me. In any case, he’s played well enough to earn the starting nickel job. Douglas could be the top backup at outside corner when Jones is lining up in the slot. Maddox looked lost at times during spring practices but he’s shown signs of development as the summer has gone on. I was tempted to keep De’Vante Bausby here instead of Walker at linebacker. I think Bausby’s stock has dropped lately, though, with him falling out of the nickel corner battle entirely and just not impressing in the preseason. Plus I have the Eagles keeping two practice squad corners so they don’t need to keep six on the 53.

S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan (4) [50]

The top three guys are set. Is Sullivan going to be the fourth? I think so, but I don’t know that he’s a lock. I mean, I don’t think anyone has really outplayed him, so he might win the job by default. Or the Eagles could look to claim a fourth safety off waivers. Or maybe Maragos gets activated sooner than expected.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Elliott has missed two 33-yard kick attempts in the past two preseason games. It’d be really cool if he could stop missing those easy ones.

P: Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

Johnston has shown enough to be the team’s punter this year. I don’t think he has a long leash if he starts to struggle, though.

LS: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Did you see Rick Lovato get in on a special teams tackle the other night?! On one hand, that’s awesome. On the other hand, don’t get hurt, Rick!

SUSPENSION

Nigel Bradham is suspended for Week 1 so he won’t count against the 53-man roster until after the Eagles vs. Falcons game.

INJURED PLAYERS

It seems very likely that Timmy Jernigan will begin the season on the non-football injury (NFI) list. That means he’ll miss six games, at least.

The Eagles could keep Chris Maragos on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to start the 2018 campaign. That would mean he’ll miss at least six games as well.

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PRACTICE SQUAD (10):

QB Christian Hackenberg, RB Donnel Pumphrey, WR Rashard Davis, OT Toby Weathersby, OG Darrell Greene, DE Joe Ostman, DT Elijah Qualls, CB D.J. Killings, CB Chandon Sullivan, S Jeremy Reaves