Now that free agency and the NFL Draft are behind us, let’s take a look at how the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2021 projected depth chart is coming together. We outlined the offense on Sunday. Then we outlined the defense on Monday. We’ll continue today with the special teams unit. Tomorrow, we’ll post our first 53-man roster projection for the upcoming season. (For fun, you can look at how the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)
1 - Jake Elliott
Elliott is in need of a bounce-back season after posting the lowest FG% and XP% numbers of his career last year. The Eagles can feasibly cut him during the season if he really struggles. A strong training camp could set the tone for a rebound in 2021.
1 - Arryn Siposs
Curious to see the Eagles elect not to add competition for Siposs thus far. One would think they still might since he lacks NFL game experience. There’s reason to be intrigued by his potential but he’s not exactly a sure bet as the team tries to replace Cameron Johnston.
1 - Arryn Siposs
Siposs will have to avoid botching holds in addition to proving he can punt.
1 - Rick Lovato
Lovato and Siposs will be working together for the first time this offseason. They’ll have to get their timing down and such. Nathan Gerry used to be the emergency long snapper but he’s no longer around. If the Eagles bring Richard Rodgers back, he could be in line for that role.
1 - Boston Scott
2 - Jason Huntley
3 - Adrian Killins
4 - Quez Watkins
5 - John Hightower
Scott led the Eagles in kick returns last year. His 21.1 average ranked 12th out of 13 qualified returners. Scott’s career average on 42 returns is only slightly higher at 21.8. It’d be nice to see the Eagles give someone else a chance there. Huntley could be in the mix if he makes the team considering he logged 25.8 yards per return and five touchdowns in college. Killins tested fast but his college kick return numbers aren’t impressive. Watkins and Hightower both have kick returning experience.
1 - Greg Ward
2 - Jalen Reagor
3 - DeVonta Smith
4 - Boston Scott
Ward led the Eagles in punt returns last year. His 6.4 average ranked 14th out of 16 qualified returners. Ward’s career average on 28 returns is 5.6, which isn’t any good. Not unlike Reno Mahe, Ward is good for a fair catch ... but he’s just not a dynamic threat. Doug Pederson’s coaching staff clearly didn’t trust Reagor back on punt returns but hopefully that changes under Nick Sirianni. Reagor offers much more juice in this capacity, as evidenced by his 74-yard touchdown return in Green Bay last season. Smith is going to have too big of a role on offense to regularly return punts but the Eagles should consider using him in emergency situations, similar to how DeSean Jackson was available for those in the past. Smith returned 11 punts last year for a whopping 21.5 average and one touchdown.
Rudy Ford, Duke Riley, Marcus Epps, Shaun Bradley, and Corey Clement were the Eagles’ top five leaders in special teams tackles last year. Only Epps and Bradley are back for 2021. Philly will need some new faces to emerge on their special teams unit under Michael Clay, the NFL’s youngest coordinator.