clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Eagles 53-man roster prediction following 2019 spring practices

New, comments

Early look at who could make the final cut.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

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

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles are done with OTAs and minicamp, the team will able to enjoy some relaxation before players report for training camp in late July. But while the team rests, Bleeding Green Nation does not.

It’s time for an updated Eagles 53-man roster projection. The last time we did one of these was back in mid-May. We’ve learned a lot about the Eagles since then. Philadelphia’s spring workouts helped clear up some question marks on the depth chart. A lot of position battles are still yet to be won, but this activity will give us a general sense of what the final roster could look like. We’ll update these projections multiple times throughout the summer.

OFFENSE

QB: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Clayton Thorson (3) [3]

Wentz had a great spring. He looked healthy and sharp. I think he’s played well enough to earn the starting job. Sudfeld is the obvious backup behind Wentz. He was up and down but I don’t think he’s in serious jeopardy of losing his No. 2 job. Thorson struggled more often than he excelled. I don’t think the Eagles will cut him after investing a fifth-round pick in him but he needs to show more positive flashes in training camp/preseason. Cody Kessler was the fourth string quarterback in spring drills. It feels like he’s just a camp body. Kessler’s lack of arm strength is apparent.

RB: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Boston Scott (4) [7]

Howard, Sanders, and Clement are roster locks. The real question is: how will their touches be split up? Howard is the favorite to get a bulk of the carries. There’s talk about him being more involved as a pass catcher in Philly than he was in Chicago but I don’t put a lot of stock into that. Howard has averaged 1.5 receptions per game over his career (24 per season); it’d be surprising to see that figure go up dramatically. The Eagles are high on Sanders. At the same time, the rookie missed all of spring practices with a nagging hamstring injury. Sanders has some catching up to do when camp begins. Clement is still rehabbing so we’ll have to see where he’s at in July. Scott seems to be leading the battle for the fourth running back spot. Doug Pederson previously talked about Scott as a potential Darren Sproles replacement. Scott is currently the team’s first team punt returner. The Eagles might actually keep five running backs since they always like Wendell Smallwood more than almost everyone else. I can’t see Josh Adams, who actually led the Eagles in rushing last season, making the 2019 roster but he could land on the practice squad.

WR: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins, Marken Michel (6) [13]

Jeffery, Jackson, and Agholor are going to torment defenses this season. That’s a real strong trio of receivers for Wentz to work with. Jackson and Wentz already have a great chemistry, which is encouraging. JJAW figures to contribute as a role player. The rookie wideout could be especially dangerous in the red zone due to his jump ball ability, which he displayed in spring drills. Hollins is still alive, so that’s good. Assuming he remains healthy, I think his special teams prowess lands him a spot on the final roster. There are a number of guys competing for a sixth receiver spot that may or may not exist. I’ll put Michel ahead of Charles Johnson, Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward, and DeAndre Thompkins. Michel was frequently targeted in spring practices; Wentz hit him on a couple deep shots. Several Eagles players told The Athletic that Michel was one of the most impressive players during OTAs and minicamp. Michel will need to continue to shine when the pads go on to earn his roster spot. Johnson is also pushing hard for a spot. Good battle to watch, even though the sixth receiver won’t be playing much (if at all).

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

The Eagles have the best trio of tight ends in the NFL. Ertz is coming off a record-breaking season and still looks like he’s in top form. Goedert looks like he’s ready to make a leap as he enters Year 2. The Eagles would be remiss to not give him more playing time. Rodgers is a steady No. 3 tight end who’s a capable pass catcher, a solid blocker, a good special teams contributor, and an emergency long snapper.

OL: Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Stefen Wisniewski, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor (10) [26]

The biggest question with the starting lineup is: will Brooks be ready for Week 1? There’s some optimism in that regard. If Brooks isn’t ready, it looks like it’ll be Vaitai temporarily starting at right guard. Vaitai could also still be the top swing tackle once Brooks is back, though it’d be preferable to see Dillard playing. Wis is Kelce’s top backup. Mailata could benefit from another year of development before taking over as the swing tackle behind Dillard and Johnson in 2020. Pryor doesn’t offer short-term value as much as he makes sense to keep around with the likes of Peters, Vaitai, and Wis potentially being in their last year with the Eagles. Pryor could be the top backup guard (and/or tackle) in 2020.

DEFENSE

DE: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller (5) [31]

Graham, Barnett, and Curry are all coming off 2018 injuries but the Eagles are expecting big things from them The Eagles could especially use Barnett taking a major step forward as he enters his third NFL season. Sweat seems like the front-runner for the fourth defensive end spot after flashing in the spring. His next test is showing up when the pads go on. Barring injuries to players ahead of him, Miller doesn’t project to contribute much as a rookie. Joe Ostman is pushing for a roster spot here.

DT: Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, Treyvon Hester, Hassan Ridgeway (5) [36]

I think the trio of Cox, Jackson, and Jernigan is kind of being slept on (from a national perspective, at least). That’s a really strong group. Those big guys should be able to generate a lot of interior disruption. Hester showed he can be a worthwhile backup defensive end in 2018. Ridgeway makes the team since the Eagles made an effort to trade for him (albeit a small acquisition cost) and Jim Schwartz praised earlier this spring. Also doesn’t hurt to go a little heavy at defensive tackle with Cox still rehabbing and Jernigan nearly suffering a career-ending back injury last year.

LB: Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort (5) [41]

Bradham missed spring drills but it seems like he should be ready for the season. With Bradham out, Grugier-Hill and Gerry were the Eagles’ first string linebackers. Grugier-Hill stood out in a good way. Gerry wasn’t as impressive but the coaching staff seemingly loves his brain; Eagles linebacker coach Ken Flajole said Gerry knows more than he does. Brown and Fort mostly lined up with the second team defense. Brown might eventually start working more with the first team but it’s not like the Eagles are just handing him a starting job. Keeping Fort will potentially cost the Eagles a 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick but I don’t think they’re cutting him. The Eagles gave Fort $1.9 million guaranteed and Howie Roseman said he’s a player they were targeting in free agency. At the very least, Fort will contribute on special teams and provide linebacker depth. It was tough for me to keep T.J. Edwards off this list because he flashed at times in spring practices. The Eagles might be able to sneak him on the practice squad ... or phantom IR him.

CB: Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc (5) [46]

Scroll down a bit to see why I left Jalen Mills off this list (spoiler: PUP). Darby seems bound to be a Week 1 starter assuming he’s healthy enough to play. The Eagles didn’t sign Darby to a one-year, $8.5 million contract just to have him sit the bench. Maddox is arguably the best corner on Philly’s roster. The Eagles are actively trying to lose games if Maddox isn’t getting a lot of playing time. The guy simply makes plays on the ball. Douglas had a positive spring and he should be getting playing time, especially if Darby and/or Mills are missing time. Jones didn’t have a terrible spring but he just didn’t pop in the way that guys like Maddox and Douglas did. Unlike Maddox, I don’t feel like Jones MUST be playing. Strap is still the man. He gives the Eagles good depth in the nickel and he’ll help out on special teams.

S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Blake Countess (4) [50]

The Eagles should (and likely will) do what it takes to make Jenkins happy. I expect we’ll see the two sides reach an agreement at some point before the season. McLeod was doing some position drill work in spring practices and he said he’ll be full go in training camp. It’d be great for the Eagles to have their two starting safeties ready for the 2019 season. Is Sendejo so good that it’s worth the Eagles losing a 2020 fourth-round comp pick by keeping him on the roster past Week 10? I think the Eagles might think so. They seem to value him as a backup to Jenkins and McLeod. He’s the favorite to fill the third safety role. Countess is essentially the Eagles’ new Chris Maragos, though he might be better equipped to actually play safety snaps if required to do so. Tre Sullivan was a tough cut considering he took a lot of first team safety reps with both Jenkins and McLeod missing the majority of spring practice. Maddox’s ability to play safety allows the Eagles to go a little lighter at this spot.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

P: Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

LS: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Elliott is 24 years old, Johnston is 27, and Lovato is 26. This trio could be in Philly together for a long time.

PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (PUP)

Jalen Mills was barely visible during spring workouts. I only remember seeing him watching from the sideline for one practice. It’s totally unclear where he’s at in his rehab. I’ll repeat what I previously tweeted:

If Mills is placed on regular season PUP, he’ll miss the first six weeks of the season. It’s possible he’ll be ready before then. It’s just hard to tell right now.

...

PRACTICE SQUAD (10)

RB Josh Adams, WR DeAndre Thompkins, TE Joshua Perkins, OL Ryan Bates, OG Sua Opeta, DE Joe Ostman, DT Bruce Hector, LB T.J. Edwards, CB Jeremiah McKinnon, S Godwin Igwebuike