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Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster projection: Final edition

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Which Eagles players will survive 2019 NFL roster cuts? Let’s take a look.

Wild Card Round - Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up their 2019 NFL preseason schedule on Thursday night against 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, August 31 at 4:00 PM Eastern. The Eagles could (and likely will) begin their cuts as soon as Friday morning, so stay tuned. For now, it’s time for one last Eagles 53-man roster projection.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld (3) [3]

Wentz has had a good offseason and he’s healthy. There’s ample reason to believe he’s poised for a big year if he can avoid injury. McCown is Wentz’s top backup this season. Sudfeld is still recovering from a broken wrist injury; he’ll be the third string quarterback once he returns at some point early in the season. The Eagles should be able to get Clayton Thorson through waivers and signed to the practice squad. Cody Kessler ... goodbye.

RUNNING BACK: Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement (4) [7]

The Eagles will rotate their running backs, as they’ve always done under Doug Pederson and Duce Staley, but Sanders and Howard figure to be the two main ball carriers. Sproles and Clement project more as role players who can contribute in the passing attack and on special teams. Keeping Wendell Smallwood as a fifth running back would be a waste of a roster spot because he’s a replacement level talent. Maybe Joe Douglas puts in a claim on one of Josh Adams, Boston Scott, or Donnel Pumphrey? One of those guys could stick on the Eagles’ practice squad once they clear waivers. I’ll give the nod to Scott.

WIDE RECEIVER: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins (5) [12]

Jeffery, Jackson, and Agholor is a nice trio of starting receivers for Wentz to work with due to their varied skill sets. Arcega-Whiteside has proven he at least deserves some snaps as a role player. Hollins rounds out the Eagles’ receiving corps as a special teams ace. Greg Ward had a nice summer but he’s nothing special to where the Eagles MUST keep him. Look no further than how Ward spent the entire 2018 season as a free agent before signing with the AAF in January. Ward and/or Marken Michel could be kept on the practice squad. The 6-6, 220 pound Carlton Agudosi could also get a look there.

TIGHT END: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins (3) [15]

The Eagles better be running a lot of 12 personnel this year with two beasts like Ertz and Goedert on the roster. There’s uncertainty on the depth chart after those guys since Richard Rodgers is hurt for “multiple weeks” with an ankle injury. Will the Eagles keep Rodgers on the original 53-man roster so they can put him on injured reserve and designate him to return later in the season? That’s what they did last year. The feeling here is that the Eagles should just waive Rodgers with an injury settlement; he should be around in October if the Eagles want to bring him back then. Perkins is the No. 3 by default but the Eagles could look to upgrade on him through waivers and/or a low-cost trade. I did like what I saw out of Alex Ellis this summer.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor (9) [24]

It’s still unclear if Brooks will be playing in Week 1. If Brooks can’t suit up, Big V will be starting at right guard. Once Brooks is healthy, Vaitai could be the top backup at both guard spots and right tackle. Dillard — who has played well in the preseason — projects to be the top backup at left tackle since that’s the only spot the 2019 first-round pick has learned thus far. The severity of Mailata’s back injury isn’t currently known so I’m blindly assuming he’ll be fine to keep around on the 53. Pryor hasn’t had the best summer but I don’t think Jeff Stoutland is ready to give up on him just yet. Stefen Wisniewski isn’t included here because he’s struggled this offseason and the Eagles can clear $1.58 million by cutting him or $1.83 million by trading him. Nate Herbig is on the roster bubble but I think the Eagles will risk trying to get him on the practice squad.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE END: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller (6) [30]

Sorry, no Jadeveon Clowney inclusion here. The sense I get is that the Eagles like what they have at defensive end. Graham should be better in 2019 after dealing with an injury in 2018. Barnett is poised to take a step forward as he enters Year 3. Curry is back as a backup player after being a starter for the Super Bowl team just two years ago. Hall clearly deserves to be the Eagles’ fourth defensive end with how he’s dominated in the preseason. Sweat showed improvement this summer but not enough to be a major factor in the team’s pass rush rotation. Shareef Miller seems like a prime candidate to get stashed away on injured reserve for the 2019 season with some kind of mystery injury ... but since that’s kinda cheating I’ll put him on here.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway (4) [34]

It’s unnerving that Cox hasn’t been practicing this offseason but Doug Pederson did say the Eagles’ man dog is going to be ready for Week 1. Jackson and Jernigan are major upgrades as complements to Cox compared to what the Eagles were working with last year. Ridgeway has been ahead of Treyvon Hester — Philadelphia’s playoff hero from earlier this year — on the depth chart in practice and game situations. I originally had the Eagles keeping Hester as a fifth guy at this spot but I had to make a tough cut.

LINEBACKER: Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nathan Gerry, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards (6) [40]

It doesn’t seem like there’s a 100% chance that Bradham plays in Week 1. That’s concerning since Kamu Grugier-Hill is still recovering and won’t be back until late September/early October. Zach Brown has played well this summer but he doesn’t have experience calling plays as a middle linebacker. Gerry hasn’t been great but the coaching staff seems to like him a lot more than outside observers do. Fort has earned his spot on the roster despite the fact keeping him hurts the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula. Edwards is on the bubble and might end up as a practice squad guy but I’m keeping him around due to the uncertainty with Bradham and Grugier-Hill. Alex Singleton could make the roster after looking good in the preseason. I gave the nod to Edwards, who is three years younger.

CORNERBACK: Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Orlando Scandrick, Cre’Von LeBlanc (6) [46]

Tough spot to project. Darby’s made some nice progress but is he going to be ready for Week 1? If not, that would leave Maddox, Jones, and Douglas as the Eagles’ only healthy corners. So, the Eagles might opt to keep Orlando Scandrick on the Week 1 roster if Darby can’t play. If Darby CAN play, the Eagles should cut Scandrick and bring him back after Week 1 so his 2019 salary isn’t fully guaranteed. This strategy would allow the Eagles to more easily cut Scandrick if/when Jalen Mills is ready to return at some point after Week 6. But with the Eagles resting Scandrick against the Jets I feel like they might keep him. LeBlanc seems like a prime candidate to go on injured reserve and potentially return to the active roster at some point after Week 8.

SAFETY: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien (4) [50]

Jenkins never got the new contract he was seeking but he’s projected to start Week 1 all the same. McLeod looked healthy in the Eagles’ third preseason game so he’s on track to start as well. Sendejo will be the Eagles’ third safety in the old Corey Graham role. Cyprien feels like the favorite to be the fourth safety despite the fact he hasn’t really stood out a ton. Maybe the Eagles cut him and stick with Rudy Ford, who’s known for his special teams prowess, instead.

SPECIAL TEAMS

KICKER: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Elliott is the Eagles’ kicker. He needs to be a little more consistent.

PUNTER: Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

Johnston is the Eagles’ punter.

LONG SNAPPER: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Lovato is the Eagles’ long snapper.

PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (PUP)

Jalen Mills

Mills would’ve been taken off the active/PUP list by now if he wasn’t going to begin the regular season on reserve/PUP. The Green Goblin will miss at least the first six games before being eligible to return to the 53-man roster as soon as Week 7.

PRACTICE SQUAD

QB Clayton Thorson, RB Boston Scott, WR Greg Ward, TE Alex Ellis, C Nate Herbig, OT Brett Toth, DT Kevin Wilkins, LB Alex Singleton, CB Ajene Harris, S Rudy Ford