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Eagles training camp preview: 53-man roster projection

Predicting how things might play out.

Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

At long last, the NFL’s dead zone is OVER! Philadelphia Eagles training camp is upon us!

Players are reporting to the NovaCare Complex today ahead of the team’s first practice on Wednesday, July 26. As always, Bleeding Green Nation will be bringing daily observations, recap podcasts, and more your way.

Before the on-field action officially kicks off, though, let’s take the time to go through everyone’s favorite summer activity: a 53-player roster prediction. The aim here is to get an early look at how the Eagles’ Week 1 depth chart could play out. We’ll certainly update these projections throughout the summer to reflect meaningful developments from practices and preseason games.


QB: Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Tanner McKee (3) [3]

Unlike last year at this time, Hurts is now firmly locked in as the Eagles’ franchise quarterback after signing a five-year contract worth $255 million. As long as Hurts avoids having a really bad camp, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be excellent again in 2023. Mariota has a chance to be an upgrade of Gardner Minshew, who didn’t look good last summer and went 0-2 in two regular season starts. Tanner McKee and Ian Book are set to battle it out for the third quarterback spot. Looking back at McKee’s college footage, there’s some Nick Foles to his game. The thought here is that the rookie is going to beat out Book.

RB: Rashaad Penny, D’Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott (4) [7]

How are the Eagles going to split carries this season? We might not get a great sense until the real games begin. In the meantime, we’ll be monitoring how first team reps are divided in camp. Penny has flashed the highest ceiling of any Eagles backfield option ... but he’s inevitably going to get banged up at some point. Swift’s game is arguably most conducive to shining in practice since he’s shifty and can catch the ball. Gainwell had a relatively disappointing camp last year but turned up in the playoffs. Can he build on his postseason? Scott is well-liked by the coaching staff and his teammates. The Eagles need to keep him around simply so he can continue to terrorize the New York Giants. Trey Sermon is an intriguing under-the-radar candidate to watch at this spot in his first full offseason with the Birds. But the 2021 third-round pick might get caught up in a numbers crunch.

WR: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus, Britain Covey (5) [12]

Brown and Smith are two of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Many teams would kill to have at least one of them. The depth behind them, however? Not so good. The Eagles’ coaching staff seems to be much higher on Watkins than everybody else. He was the rare player to underachieve in 2022 as he failed to make the most of limited opportunities. His mistakes significantly contributed to rare losses last year. It’s possible Watkins’ role will decrease with the addition of OZ, who is coming off a career season. The thinking here is that Quez and OZ will both play but exactly how the snaps are split remains to be determined. After getting off to a slow start, Covey quietly finished the season as a pretty good punt returner. He also theoretically provides depth in the slot. Barring a Watkins trade (which would clear over $2.7 million), these five players feel like locks. The question is if the Eagles keep six. Joseph Ngata is someone to watch considering he received the highest UDFA guarantee. Tyrie Cleveland might come out of nowhere to fill the Zach Pascal role. Charleston Rambo made some nice plays while teamed up with Hurts at Oklahoma; maybe they rediscover their chemistry.

TE: Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Dan Arnold (3) [15]

If he can stay healthy, Goedert should be able to make his first Pro Bowl in 2023. The Eagles really like Stoll’s blocking ability; he’s going to make this roster. Leaving Grant Calcaterra off here is tough because he’s showed some pass-catching potential. But he has an injury history and Arnold is going to push hard for a spot on this team. Arnold has flashed in NFL games and he made some impressive catches in OTAs. Tyree Jackson will interesting to monitor after looking good during the 2021 offseason and this could be his last chance to stick around in Philly.

OL: Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Tyler Steen, Lane Johnson, Cam Jurgens, Dennis Kelly, Jack Driscoll, Brett Toth (9) [24]

The starting offensive line is set ... aside from right guard. The Eagles are giving Jurgens an honest try at that spot but it just feel likes it’s eventually going to be Steen’s job. Jurgens isn’t even going to be able to fully rep at right guard since the Eagles will likely have him at center as they manage Kelce’s practice reps. Kelly has a chance to be a true swing tackle for the Birds as the top backup at both left and right tackle. He’ll be competing with Driscoll for that role. After missing the entire 2022 season, Toth is back as a deep bench piece. The Eagles seem to believe he’s versatile considering they’ve utilized him at every offensive line position. Trevor Reid might be this year’s Josh Sills in terms of a UDFA sneaking onto the roster if he can show developmental potential.


DE: Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Janarius Robinson (3) [27]

Graham is coming off a career year as he enters his age 35 season. The Eagles want to keep his snap count down but he can still contribute in a meaningful way. Sweat has gotten better every year. Can he take yet another step? The Eagles liked Robinson enough to sign him away from the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad and keep him on their roster for a good portion of the season. He’s long and athletic and offers more upside than Derek Barnett. It remains to be seen if Barnett will be ready for camp since he missed OTAs while still recovering from his Week 1 ACL injury.

SAM: Haason Reddick, Nolan Smith, Patrick Johnson (3) [30]

Reddick has the third-most sacks in the NFL since 2020. The two players who have more? Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt. As the league’s 15th-highest paid edge rusher on an annual basis, one can wonder if Reddick feels undervalued. He’s making $10 million less each year than Garrett and $13 million less than Watt. That’s a pretty big gap. There’s every reason to believe Reddick will be dominant again in 2023. It’s going to be fun to see exactly how Smith fits into Sean Desai’s defense. To what extent will we see Reddick and him on the field at the same time, if at all? Smith is not a guy to bet against; he’s extremely athletic and he’s an absolute dog on the field. Johnson gives the Eagles more depth and he can help on special teams.

DT: Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Moro Ojomo, Kentavius Street (6) [36]

The Eagles like to heavily rotate their defensive tackles. They were utilizing six different interior players by the end of last season. Cox isn’t what he used to be but he can still be effective. Carter has the talent to be great but he has to prove he can handle business like a professional. Some seem to be sleeping on Davis after he failed to posted a sack as a rookie. Don’t rule out a second-year jump from him. Williams is another young player who could take a step after double his sack total from Year 1 to Year 2. Ojomo could prove to be a nice late Day 3 pickup as a rotational player who can also take some snaps at defensive end. If you count half sacks as full sacks like Pro Football Focus does, Street had six last year. He could be viewed as an ascending rotational interior pass rusher. Marlon Tuipulotu gets left off here.

LB: Nakobe Dean, Nicholas Morrow, Christian Elliss, Shaun Bradley (4) [40]

Dean had a really quiet camp last year. It’d be disappointing to see that happen again. With the Eagles really counting on him to step up as the new MIKE linebacker, Dean is under pressure to perform. Morrow wearing No. 41 is such a bad look. I don’t know how he can possibly be good with that jersey number. Don’t sleep on Elliss being able to earn some playing time on defense after flashing in limited playing time last year and making splash plays in June OTAs. Bradley can’t be considered a lock; the Eagles have been reluctant to ever really play him on defense. But he does have a track record of contributing on special teams. And that’s more than you can say about other players at his position.

CB: James Bradberry, Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Josh Jobe, Kelee Ringo (6) [46]

Bradberry and Slay are the starters on the outside. One can wonder if at least one of them is set to regress. Cornerback is typically not a position where players age gracefully. Bradberry is entering his age 30 season while Slay is turning 33 in January. Maddox is the Eagles’ slot corner but he’s coming off an injury that caused him to miss OTAs. McPhearson saw time as the nickel corner in OTAs; he could conceivably be the top backup at every corner spot. McPhearson has also played well on special teams so he’s a strong bet to make the roster. Jobe has also played on special teams and he looked good in camp last year. Ringo is probably more of a long-term factor than he is ready to contribute right away. Barring injuries, it’s tough to see how Greedy Willliams makes the team when he projects a bench guy who doesn’t really have a special teams background. Greedy feels like a trade candidate to get the Eagles back a player that was on the roster bubble elsewhere.

S: Reed Blankenship, Terrell Edmunds, Sydney Brown, Justin Evans (4) [50]

Blankenship, Edmunds, and Brown appear to be battling it out for two starting safety spots. That said, it feels like all three will contribute in some capacity. Blankenship was the Eagles’ most impressive rookie last season (admittedly a low bar to clear); he’s very fundamentally sound and has a knack for being in the right place. Edmunds isn’t known for being a big play-maker but he also doesn’t give up a ton of big plays. He might be getting underrated as a five-year starter for a strong organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans seem to be intrigued by Brown but it can take rookie safeties time to adjust to the NFL. Beyond the top trio, Evans gets the nod because the former Saint was actually on the Eagles’ radar ahead of C.J. Gardner-Johnson last summer (as mentioned by Jimmy Kempski on BGN Radio). They could opt to keep K’Von Wallace instead but haven’t we seen his ceiling by now?


K: Jake Elliott (1) [51]

Elliott is entering his seventh season in the NFL. He’s five years away from matching the length of David Akers’ tenure in Philly.

P: Arryn Siposs (1) [52]

The Eagles created a punter “competition” by signing undrafted rookie free agent Ty Zentner. During a small sample size of two OTA practices, however, Zenter looked to be outmatched by Siposs. Still, the Eagles would be wise to monitor other punter situations and look to upgrade on Siposs if/when they can. How are they supposed to be surprised if he continues to stink in the playoffs for the third straight season?

LS: Rick Lovato (1) [53]

Lovato has been with the Eagles since Week 15 of the 2016 season.


QB Ian Book, RB Trey Sermon, WR Joseph Ngata, WR Devon Allen, WR Tyrie Cleveland, TE Grant Calcaterra, OT Trevor Reid, G/C Julian Good-Jones, DE Tarron Jackson, DT Noah Elliss, LB Ben VanSumeren, CB Eli Ricks, CB Mekhi Garner, DB Josiah Scott, S K’Von Wallace, P Ty Zentner


OL Josh Sills

The NFL placed Sills on the Commissioner Exempt List in February after he was indicted by a grand jury on one count of rape and one count of kidnapping. His trial is currently scheduled for July 31. Sills is also subject to being reviewed through the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

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