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Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Final edition

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

Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Photo by Yong Kim-Pool/Getty Images

Well, I was going to publish my final Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster projection on Friday morning but the team unexpectedly made 13 moves tonight. So I’m doing it now instead with the benefit of what we know so far.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts (3) [3]

Yes, Sudfeld is currently the No. 2. That could quickly change if he’s not playing well. But it’s his job until Hurts eventually overtakes him. Kyle Lauletta recently signed with the Atlanta Falcons so he might not be available for the practice squad.

RUNNING BACK: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement (3) [6]

The Eagles waived Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins, and Michael Warren so they’re only keeping three for now. Bodes wells for Sanders’ injury status. Don’t rule out the team looking to add a fourth if someone interesting becomes available on waivers. Or if there’s a low-cost trade option. Holyfield is a good bet to make the practice squad and could be elevated when necessary.

WIDE RECEIVER: DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, John Hightower, Quez Watkins (6) [12]

Reagor is reportedly set to miss two-to-four weeks so he might miss a game or two ... at least. Jackson (Z), JJAW (X), and Ward (slot) figure to be the starters in the meantime. Hightower could see some playing time as well. Watkins will either be inactive or limited to special teams. Deontay Burnett deserved to make the roster and the Eagles will have to hope he doesn’t get claimed.

TIGHT END: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Noah Togiai (3) [15]

Togiai received the third highest guarantee out of the Eagles’ undrafted rookie free agent signings. He’s in a good spot to be the No. 3 tight end. That is, unless the Eagles can find an upgrade via waivers.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Nate Herbig, Jack Driscoll, Prince Tega Wanogho (9) [24]

The Eagles need to smarten up and pay Peters to play left tackle and move Pryor back to right guard. Pryor or Mailata could be the top backup at left tackle, which, yikes. Herbig figures to be the top backup on the interior. Driscoll could be the top backup at right tackle. PTW sticks around as a developmental player. The Eagles will want to get Luke Juriga on the practice squad.

DEFENSE

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

Graham, Barnett, Sweat (had a good summer), and Curry are locked in. Ostman had a good camp for the second year in a row and can contribute on special teams. Miller was outperformed by Casey Toohill but something makes me think the Eagles will stick with their 2019 fourth-round pick. Could be wrong! Genard Avery doesn’t deserve to make the roster.

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

The Eagles could keep five here with Hargrave and Ridgeway banged up ... but I don’t think they will. They could just call up Anthony Rush using the new practice squad rules if they need another body. Going heavy at DE also lessens the need for a fifth DT.

LINEBACKER: Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor (5) [39]

Barring injury, Gerry will lead all Eagles linebackers in snaps played. It remains to be seen exactly how Edwards and Riley might split playing time next to Whitesnake. Bradley is more ready to contribute than Taylor despite being drafted later. The Eagles should be able to get Alex Singleton to the practice squad.

CORNERBACK: Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Sidney Jones, Craig James (6) [45]

Slay, Maddox, and NRC (slot) are the main starters. Strap could see playing time in various subpackages, especially with Will Parks banged up. Jones doesn’t deserve to make the team but I’m thinking Howie Roseman will have a hard time letting go. Unlike Jones, James deserves a spot after having a good camp and proving himself on special teams last year. Rasul Douglas is the odd man out due to a lack of speed and versatility. Maybe the Eagles find a way to trade Sul for a conditional late-round pick or a third tight end or something along those lines. Maybe they just have to cut him, though. Or maybe them keep him instead of James? Still unsure.

SAFETY: Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace, Rudy Ford (5) [50]

Parks getting hurt isn’t ideal because he was in line for significant role as a third safety. This marks an opportunity for Wallace to step up after not making the strongest impression in camp. The Eagles should’ve kept Grayland Arnold as their fifth safety but they’re instead going to go with either Rudy Ford or Marcus Epps. Ford was terrible on special teams last year but Roseman seems to like him.

SPECIAL TEAMS

KICKER: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Chalk.

PUNTER: Cameron Johnston (1) [52]

Chalk.

LONG SNAPPER: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Chalk.


INJURY

INJURED RESERVE (IR): Andre Dillard, Josh Perkins

Players placed on IR after the roster cuts deadline are eligible to be activated after three missed games. Players placed on IR before the deadline, such as Dillard and Perkins, are officially out for the season.

RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (PUP): Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Brooks

On the latest BGN Radio episode, my co-host Jimmy Kempski pointed out that the Eagles can’t activate Jeffery from PUP to then immediately put him on IR. The Eagles should just start him out on PUP anyway. Brooks will also begin on PUP and might miss the entire season ... or not?


OPT OUT

Marquise Goodwin

The veteran wide receiver opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. He issued a statement to explain his decision.


But wait, isn’t there a 55-man roster this year?

Yes and no. There’s still a main 53. More details:

Two practice-squad players per week may be elevated to the team’s roster, meaning game-week roster sizes could effectively increase from 53 to 55. And a player elevated from the practice squad to the 55-man roster could be sent back to the practice squad two times without having to clear waivers. [...] The game-day active roster will increase from 46 to 48 players (although one of the extra players must be an offensive lineman, which will give teams more flexibility to have three extra linemen).


PRACTICE SQUAD

Practice squad capacity is now 16 players instead of 10. Teams can now keep up to six players with no limits on NFL experience. Teams can also block four practice squad players from being poached on a weekly basis.

16-player practice squad: RB Elijah Holyfield, RB Adrian Killins, WR Deontay Burnett, WR Travis Fulgham, TE Caleb Wilson, OG Sua Opeta, C Luke Juriga, DE Casey Toohill, DE Genard Avery, DT Anthony Rush, DT Raequan Williams, LB Alex Singleton, CB Trevor Williams, CB Michael Jacquet, S Elijah Riley, S Grayland Arnold

Exemption: DE Matt Leo