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Eagles training camp is here and so is a 53-man roster prediction

Projecting how things might play out.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles training camp is HERE! Players reported to the NovaCare Complex yesterday ahead of the team’s first practice today. As always, Bleeding Green Nation will be bringing you complete camp coverage over the next month.

Before the action kicks off, though, let’s take the time to run through everyone’s favorite summer activity: a 53-man roster prediction. We do this to get an early look at how the Eagles’ final depth chart could play out. You can be sure that we’ll update these projections throughout the summer to reflect meaningful developments from practices and preseason games.

OFFENSE

QB: Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, Carson Strong (3) [3]

All eyes will be on Hurts this summer. How he performs during camp figures to set the table for the upcoming season. If he makes a significant leap, the Eagles should be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders. If he looks like the same player he did last year, well, this team’s ceiling might be capped. Minshew is entering his first camp with the Eagles. Carson Strong and Reid Sinnett are battling it out for a QB3 roster spot. There’s no guarantee the Eagles will even keep three quarterbacks but they might value Strong’s upside. He could be QB2 in 2023 when Minshew likely leaves in free agency after this season.

RB: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Jason Huntley (4) [7]

There’s no question that Sanders is the Eagles’ top back. There’s yes question when it comes to exactly how running back touches will be divvied up. Scott ended up being a solid RB2 last year despite not entering the season in that role. Gainwell failed to fully earn the coaching staff’s trust as a rookie but he could make a leap, especially if he provides pass-catching value. His usage in the slot will be something to monitor in camp. Huntley is no roster lock but he should make the team considering he’s clearly their best kick returner. He’s also flashed juice as an offensive player in practice settings. The problem with this configuration is the Eagles lack a true “bigger back.” It’s worth noting that Jordan Howard is still a free agent. Kennedy Brooks might also stand a chance to make the team but he’s probably safe to keep on the practice squad.

WR: DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal, Greg Ward (5) [12]

Admittedly, five feels a little light. We do know the top four players at this spot are locks to make the roster. Smith and Brown are the clear top two guys in some order. Watkins gives the Eagles a vertical presence in the slot while Pascal gives the Eagles size in that role. Don’t sleep on the possibility of Pascal actually outsnapping Watkins ... or at least heavily rotating with him. Ward shouldn’t be a lock to make the team but his special teams ability could help him. We’re leaving Jalen Reagor off because he’s been really bad and it doesn’t make sense to keep him around as a WR5 or less; it’s not like he provides ST value. Then again, Howie Roseman might not be willing to take the L on him just yet. Deon Cain, who looked good in OTAs, and Britain Covey, who might be the best option at punt returner, might also push for spots here. Devon Allen is an interesting long shot to watch given his speed. John Hightower could end up on the practice squad again.

TE: Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra (3) [15]

Goedert is finally entering a season as the clear TE1. Who are his backups, though? Very much TBD. Stoll finished 2021 as TE2 so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. He was more of a blocking tight end so the Eagles might want a third option who’s more of a pass-catcher. Calcaterra has the potential to impress in that regard. The recently signed Jaeden Graham offers less upside but might be more ready to contribute now and can help on special teams. The Eagles can always turn to Richard Rodgers if all else fails.

OL: Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Le’Raven Clark, Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Cam Jurgens, Kayode Awosika (10) [25]

The five starters are locked in ... except perhaps Seumalo as he transitions to right guard? The feeling here is he’ll end up starting at that spot. But he could face competition from Driscoll. Both of those players will be working to shed the injury-prone label. Andre Dillard isn’t listed here because he arguably has more value in a trade than he does on the roster for one more season. This isn’t to suggest the Eagles should move him at any cost ... but the guess here is some team desperate for OT help comes calling and gives the Eagles a third-round pick. Clark would then be the swing tackle with the ability to play both OT spots. Driscoll could be the top RG option with Opeta having more experience at LG. Jurgens isn’t likely to play much, if at all, as a rookie. It’s not even a lock that he would play even if Kelce gets hurt (knock on wood). Awosika is hardly a lock but he showed some intriguing upside and offers tackle/guard versatility. Jack Anderson was a tough cut but he might be able to be kept on the practice squad.

DEFENSE

DE: Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson (4) [29]

Sweat is coming off a career year. He has a history of producing against the bad teams but being quiet against the good ones so it would be nice to see that change. Is Graham going to be effective coming off an Achilles injury and entering his age 34 season? I wouldn’t be one to bet against him but it’s fair to wonder. No one would be surprised if Barnett produces more penalties than sacks this year. Jackson can earn his spot on the bench by showing progress this summer.

DT: Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams (4) [33]

Cox and Hargrave are locked in as the starters but the interior defensive line rotation could be pretty heavy since their backups are legit players. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how Davis is used in camp. Marlon Tuipulotu might be able to make the roster here.

SAM: Haason Reddick, Kyron Johnson, Patrick Johnson (3) [36]

Jonathan Gannon better not overthink Reddick’s role; just let him rush the passer. He’s clearly proven to be pretty good at that considering only four NFL players have more sacks than him over the last two seasons. Kyron Johnson has some pass-rushing potential and special teams ability. Patrick Johnson needs to show some progress from Year 1 to Year 2 and look good on ST.

LB: T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley (5) [41]

Edwards and White enter camp as the top two guys. Will it stay that way? Dean figures to make a push for playing time. It’s quite possibly that all three guys will rotate fairly regularly. Taylor might also be in the mix for defensive snaps. At the very least, Taylor figures to play on special teams. Bradley is a good ST player.

CB: Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Kary Vincent Jr. (5) [46]

Slay and Bradberry will start on the outside with Maddox working in the slot. McPhearson is probably the top corner off the bench. Though I’m partial to Mac McCain, I think the Eagles value KVJ more highly. He was one of the two outside cornerbacks with the second team in the spring. Tay Gowan could also be in the mix for a backup CB spot.

S: Marcus Epps, Anthony Harris, Jaquiski Tartt, Andre Chachere (4) [50]

The Eagles are banking on Epps to handle a bigger workload as he moves from being the third safety to a full-time starter. There’s thought that Tartt and Epps are competing for one starting spot but it might actually be Harris and Tarrt. Chachere lined up as a second team safety in OTAs. He has a strong case to make the roster given his special teams ability and his versatility to play nickel CB as well as safety. K’Von Wallace finds himself on the outs considering he’s never really impressed since being drafted.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

As a Pro Bowler last year, Elliott is coming off a career season. He’s easily earned the right to face no competition in camp.

P: Arryn Siposs (1) [52]

Curiously, Siposs isn’t facing camp competition despite really struggling down the stretch last season. Of course, the Eagles could always be looking to add a punter if one shakes free following roster cuts.

LS: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Lovato is entering his sixth camp as the Eagles’ long snapper.


INJURY

PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (PUP): Tyree Jackson, Brett Toth

Jackson and Toth are both roster bubble players who could stand to benefit from being stashed away to begin the season. If they do indeed start out on the reserve/PUP list, they’ll be required to miss at least four games while they recover from their ACL injuries. The Eagles could look to activate them if/when they need more depth at tight end and/or on the offensive line.


PRACTICE SQUAD

Practice squad capacity goes up to 16 players.

QB Reid Sinnett, RB Kennedy Brooks, WR Devon Allen, WR Britain Covey, TE Jaeden Graham, TE J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, OL Jack Anderson, OL William Dunkle, DT Marlon Tuipulotu, DT Renell Wren, SAM Ali Fayad, LB JaCoby Stevens, LB Christian Elliss, CB Mac McCain III, CB Tay Gowan, S Jared Mayden

Exemption: DE Matt Leo