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Eagles 53-man roster prediction after one full week of training camp practice

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Projecting the final cuts.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles reported for training camp back on Wedensday, July 26. Since then, they’ve held a total of eight practices. We’ve learned quite a few things about this team’s outlook in that time. 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 camp.

OFFENSE

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

The belief here is that Wentz is still on pace to start in Week 1 despite the fact the Eagles have backed him off during practice recently. He looked healthy and great when he was doing 11-on-11 stuff earlier in camp. Foles is admittedly capable of looking much better in games than he is in practice. He referred to himself as a “gamer” earlier this week. He’ll be ready to start in the unlikely event that Wentz isn’t able to. There’s always a small chance Foles gets traded as well. Sudfeld continues to show enough where you can envision him as a solid No. 2, at least.

RB: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey (4) [7]

The Eagles’ coaching staff has hyped up Ajayi as their lead back. That’s all well and good, but it’s pretty apparent there’s still going to be a heavy rotation here. Sproles looks healthy and he didn’t avoid retirement just to sit on the bench. Clement is also too good not to get involved in the offense. He should split third down back duties with Sproles. Clement seems to be favored by the Eagles in the red zone, which is something you fantasy football people should note. The fourth running back spot is still up for grabs but I’d say Pump is in the lead. The 2017 fourth-round pick looks like he actually belongs in the NFL now. The preseason games will still be a big test for him. Matt Jones and Josh Adams are still in the mix, though the former’s stock is dropping as he misses time with an injury. I don’t think Wendell Smallwood is going to make this team.

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

Jeffery is on the PUP list until further notice. He can be activated at any time. The hope is he’ll be ready for Week 1. Agholor has had a really strong offseason. There’s no reason to believe he’s going to regress back to his awful pre-2017 form. It would not surprise me if he has an even better season than he did last year. Wallace hasn’t really stood out either way. I wouldn’t be worried about that given his proven track record. Hollins hasn’t dominated camp by any means but he seems to make the most of his opportunities. He figures to see some rotational playing time. It’s a close race when it comes to the battle for the fifth and sixth receiver spot(s). Gibson appeared to have an edge but now he’s dealing with a concussion. The Eagles kept him after a very unimpressive showing last year, so I think they’ll have patience with him again. I could really go with any one of Davis, Markus Wheaton, Bryce Treggs, Greg Ward, or maybe even DeAndre Carter for the sixth spot. I’ll take Davis because he boasts return skills and he’s looked filthy (in a good way) at times shaking defensive backs off of him to create separation. I think Davis makes the practice squad at least.

TE: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers (3) [16]

Ertz is very much still Ertz. Goedert is looking like an absolute beast in the red zone. He’s virtually unguardable down there. It’ll be fun to see how Doug Pederson utilizes multiple tight end sets. Good luck covering both Ertz AND Goedert. Rodgers is exactly what you’d expect a normal third tight end to be. Nothing flashy, just a solid depth guy who can contribute on special teams. I will say that Billy Brown has made some nice grabs and might make a case to be the fourth tight end. I wouldn’t say it’s likely right now, though.

OL: Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Pryor, Jordan Mailata (9) [25]

Six players are locked into defined roles here: the five starters and Big V as the swing tackle off the bench. After that, the Eagles have some things to figure out. The emergency of Pryor, who has had an encouraging camp, should force one of either Seumalo or Chance Warmack off the roster. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Stoutland favor his former Alabama pupil, Warmack, but it makes more sense to keep Seumalo. Warmack can be traded to save the Eagles $1.65 million in cap space. Plus he’s older and less versatile. And he’s a free agent after this year while Seumalo is cheap and signed through 2019. I don’t love keeping Mailata on the 53 since I doubt he’s ready to even play in a game but the Eagles might not want to risk losing him. Plus, the versatility of Pryor and Seumalo allows the Eagles to use them at tackle. Taylor Hart can also be signed in an emergency situation if they need another guy to be ahead of Mailata.

DEFENSE

DE: Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat (5) [30]

Despite starting camp on the PUP list, Graham has maintained he’s aiming to be ready for Week 1. Even if that’s not the case, the Eagles still have a pretty fearsome group of pass rushers. Bennett has made a habit of schooling offensive linemen in his way. Long and Barnett were really good contributors off the bench last year and that could be the case again in 2018. I’m all for keeping Steven Means but I think trading the 28-year-old could make sense and frees up a roster spot for Sweat, who has flashed at times.

DT: Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao, Haloti Ngata, Elijah Qualls (4) [34]

Man, it’s hard not to feel like the Eagles are thin here after looking at this group of names. Vaeao has been taking almost all of the first team d-tackle snaps next to Cox this summer. Ngata and Qualls have been fine. Do you really want them starting over a long period of time? The good news here is that the Eagles can always use some of their defensive ends, like Bennett, on the inside at tackle. And they’ve done that in practice. Still, it’d be great if Timmy Jernigan can get back healthy at some point. Maybe the Eagles even make a move to address this position. Aaron Donald is holding out, after all. (Just kidding, but can you imagine?)

LB: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Joe Walker, LaRoy Reynolds (6) [40]

I feel like only three of these linebackers are locks: Hicks, Bradham, and Kamuuuuuuuuu. Even if Grugier-Hill isn’t “starting” at WILL, he’s proven himself to be a good special taems player. After that, it’s kind of anyone’s guess. I kept Gerry on my roster because I don’t think the Eagles want to give up on their 2017 fifth-round pick just yet. Walker, who was named as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner last season, stays because he’s been getting some first team MIKE looks with Hicks shifting to WILL. (Strange.) Reynolds sticks due to a blend of special teams ability and experience. I left Corey Nelson off because he hasn’t really stood out to me this offseason. He can be released to save $1 million AND cutting him could potentially earn the Eagles a 2019 seventh-round pick due to how the compensatory pick formula works. (More on that here.) Again, I don’t really feel certain about projecting any of these guys beyond the top three. Preseason games should give us a better picture here.

CB: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, De’Vante Bausby, Avonte Maddox (6) [46]

Mills and Darby have had strong camps. They’re not headed to the bench any time soon. (Although don’t rule out a Darby trade.) That means Jones’ best path to playing time is earning the nickel cornerback role. It’s possible the Eagles shift Mills to the slot and put Jones on the outside in nickel situations, as they did one day in practice this week. Douglas is either making plays on the ball or getting burned deep. Feast or famine. Bausby still has his moments but the hype he generated during the spring has cooled off to some extent. Still think he makes the team for sure. Maddox isn’t showing the makings of a player who is going to make a significant instant impact.

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

The big question here is: will the Eagles re-sign Graham? He’s still out there. The Eagles are still keeping his No. 24 jersey open as well. I feel like Sullivan has looked good enough to where the Eagles don’t need to bring Graham back, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have two quality depth options behind the starters. And I don’t know who the fourth safety would otherwise be if Maragos is going to begin the season on PUP. Jeremy Reaves? I think he’s practice squad material after watching him repeatedly get worked in coverage by tight ends during practice.

UPDATE: Yes, the Eagles will re-sign Corey Graham.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Elliott’s had a great camp. No worries here.

P: Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

Pederson recently said that he has a high confidence level in Johnston. I’m still hardly convinced the Aussie is a lock despite running unopposed.

LS: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

I accidentally typed ‘Jon Dorenbos’ instead of Lovato’s name here at first.

INJURED PLAYERS

Timmy Jernigan will likely begin the 2018 season on the non-football injury (NFI) list due to offseason surgery on a herniated disc in his back. Being on NFI means he’ll have to miss the first six games, at least. There’s been no indication about when he’ll be back.

Chris Maragos is currently on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. I think the Eagles will keep him on the reserve/PUP list into the season. That means he’ll miss at least six games.

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PRACTICE SQUAD (10):

RB Josh Adams, WR Greg Ward Jr., WR Bryce Treggs, TE Billy Brown, OT Toby Weathersby, DE Joe Ostman, DT Bruce Hector, DT Aziz Shittu, CB D.J. Killings, S Jeremy Reaves