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Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: FINAL EDITION 2018

Which Eagles players will survive 2018 NFL roster cuts? Let’s take a look.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-OTA Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up their 2018 NFL preseason schedule on Thursday night by beating the New York Jets. The meaningless games are finally over!

Now it’s time for NFL teams to trim their rosters down to the regular season 53-player limit before the deadline this Saturday, September 1 at 4:00 PM ET. The Eagles may begin their cuts as soon as tomorrow, well in advance of the deadline, so stay tuned. For now, it’s time for one last Eagles 53-man roster projection.

Final Eagles 53-man roster prediction

OFFENSE

Quarterback - Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld (3) [3]

The belief here all along has been that Wentz is going to start Week 1. We’ll soon see if that’s the case. If Wentz can’t play, Foles will start until No. 11 is ready. Third string Sudfeld will likely spend the season as a game day inactive. He looks ready to be an adequate No. 2 if the situation arises.

Running back - Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Josh Adams (4) [7]

Ajayi, Sproles, and Clement are obviously locks. The question has always been: will the Eagles keep a fourth running back? The feeling here is that they should given Ajayi’s knee situation, Sproles coming off an ACL tear at 35 years old, and Clement dealing with a lowery body issue that caused him to miss some time training camp. Adams has shown some juice as a ball-carrier this season. He’s also showed competency as a blocker and special teams contributor. His upside is preferable to any short-term security that Wendell Smallwood provides. Donnel Pumphrey could be a practice squad candidate if the 2017 fourth-round pick passes through waivers unclaimed.

Wide receiver - Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, DeAndre Carter (6) [13]

Jeffery reportedly won’t be able to play until Week 3. He’ll count on the 53-man roster until then. Agholor arguably had one of the best offseasons of any Eagles player. There’s reason to believe he could be the team’s leading receiver in 2018. Wallace didn’t show much in the preseason games but he showed he still has deep speed during practice sessions. Hollins didn’t have a BAD camp but he didn’t really do a ton to impress while filling in for Jeffery. Hollins hasn’t played since the first preseason game; hopefully he can get back soon. Gibson didn’t just earn his spot on the roster ... he potentially earned his way into seeing some playing time. The Eagles really need to keep a sixth player here with Jeffery missing time and Hollins having been banged up too. Carter is most deserving on the spot based on how he’s impressed in both practices and game action. It would be a bit of a bummer to see the Eagles go with a player like Kamar Aiken or Markus Wheaton simply because they have a more proven NFL track record.

Tight end - Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Anthony Denham (4) [17]

You can bet your behind the Eagles will be running 12 personnel this year with Ertz and Goedert. With that in mind, it seems like they almost need to keep four tight ends. Rodgers is expected to miss some time early in the season, and if that’s the case, that leaves just Ertz and Goedert on the roster. Denham has experience in the scheme and he had some positive flashes with Philadelphia last offseason. He could easily be waived once Rodgers is back healthy.

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

The Eagles are one of a handful of teams who will be returning all five starting offensive linemen from last year. That’s a good thing. #Analysis. Big V looked much better in practice than he did during the games. That’s concerning but he’s probably still an acceptable swing tackle (especially relative to league average) to carry behind the starters. Hopefully he just won’t have to play much. Seumalo showcased his vesratility to play every position on the offensive line against the Browns. He seems to be struggling with snapping the ball less than before, which is also a good sign. Pryor drew some buzz early in camp but didn’t impress as much during the games. Still deserves to make the team. It’s crazy to think that Mailata has reached lock status just a few weeks after he played the first organized football game of his entire LIFE. Chance Warmack is reportedly available and he should be traded because keeping him is not a great use of resources.

DEFENSE

Defensive end - Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Steven Means, Josh Sweat (6) [32]

It remains to be seen if Graham will be ready for Week 1. Even if he is, he might not be playing his regular snap count. Not the biggest deal, though, because the Eagles are loaded with pass rushers. Bennett figures to be a very valuable contributor to this group, especially due to his versatility to play as a interior lineman. Long and Barnett are starting quality ends who could be coming off the bench. Means has been a beast in the preseason yet again. Sweat won’t see much playing time in 2018 but he’s a nice piece to have for the future.

Defensive tackle - Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector (4) [36]

Cox has looked like a player who is truly aiming to be Defensive Player of the Year. Great to see. The depth behind him isn’t an encouraging, but Ngata and Hector flashed towards the end of the summer, which was good to see. It’s totally unclear when Timmy Jernigan will play this season. Hopefully he makes it back at some point.

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

Nigel Bradham isn’t listed here since he’ll be suspended for Week 1. That leaves Hicks as the only started locked in against the Falcons. It could be Grugier-Hill or Gerry that starts next to him. One of those two guys will also be the weakside linebacker when Bradham gets back. Grugier-Hill might have the lead there. Reynolds is a serviceable backup veteran who can contribute on special teams. I don’t know what Walker has really done to earn his spot, but the team seems to like him. He received some first team reps with the defense at points in the summer. And he was voted as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner last year.

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

Darby and Mills had great offseasons. It’d be big for the Eagles defense if they can get even better play out of their corners than they did last offseason. I don’t think Jones is instantly going to be as good as Patrick Robinson was in the slot last year but he’s done a nice job for himself so far. Douglas is a key backup at both outside corner positions, though Jones could be ahead of him in non-nickel situations. Maddox really made strides from spring practices to training camp and gives the Eagles depth behind Jones. De’Vante Bausby was one of the toughest cuts on this projection. He’d be my 54th man here. I just couldn’t fit him on.

Safety - Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan (4) [50]

I was tempted to go with just the first three guys here. Sullivan’s spot doesn’t seem like a lock even though I think the Eagles want to keep four safeties. Maybe the team keeps him as a placeholder and parts ways if they find a better option.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker - Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Elliott continues to struggle with short kicks but he’s money from further out.

Punter - Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

No one can truly replace Donnie Jones, but Johnston did enough to earn his roster spot as the team’s new punter.

Long snapper - Rick Lovato [53]

Outside of one tackle he made on punt coverage, Lovato has been invisible this offseason. And that means he’s doing his job well.

INJURED PLAYERS

Tim Jernigan will likely begin the season on the non-football injury list (NFI) while Chris Maragos seems likely to start out on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). As a result, both players are automatically deactivated for the first six weeks of the season. The upside is they don’t count against the 53 until they’re activated.

PRACTICE SQUAD (10)

QB Christian Hackenberg, RB Donnel Pumphrey, WR Rashard Davis, OT Toby Weathersby, OG Darrell Greene, DE Danny Ezechukwu, DT Aziz Shittu, CB D.J. Killings, CB Chandon Sullivan, S Jeremy Reaves