The Philadelphia Eagles officially issued their first unofficial (read: “Compiled by the Eagles Communications department”) depth chart ahead of their Week 1 game against the New England Patriots. Even though it’s not necessarily the exact same depth chart that the coaches are using, there are some noteworthy things to unpack.
- The team-issued depth chart ahead of the Eagles’ first preseason game had a five-way tie for the top running back spot. With Trey Sermon getting cut, it’s now merely down to a four-way tie. Most expect D’Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell to be the top two backs, at least early on. But the feeling here is the Eagles’ running back situation could change over the course of the season as it relates to injuries, matchups, and performance. It’ll be especially interesting to see how the Birds deploy their backs in Week 1 and if that utilization pattern holds up in coming games.
- Albert Okwuegbunam (OH-kwoo-AY-boo-nahm) is predictably listed as TE4. He’ll likely be inactive on game day.
- We’ll have to see how many offensive linemen the Eagles keep active on game day. It might only be eight ... with Fred Johnson as the odd man out. Tyler Steen, then, would seemingly be the true backup at left tackle.
- Jalen Carter is technically a backup but he could conceivably lead all defensive tackles in snaps played by the end of the season. Or at least be second. There will be a big rotation at his position.
- Patrick Johnson and Nolan Smith are sharing the backup SAM spot behind Haason Reddick. They’ll both see rotational snaps. We’ll see if the Eagles favor one a bit more over the other. They might lean with Johnson at first while giving Smith a chance to earn more and more playing time.
- The Eagles are not ready to declare a starting linebacker next to Nakobe Dean. Zach Cunningham currently figures to see more snaps than Christian Elliss but it seems like there will be somewhat of a rotation there.
- As expected, the Eagles kept Mario Goodrich to be the backup nickel cornerback.
- Reed Blankenship will start at safety. Who will start next to him? Nick Sirianni declined to answer that question (in the form of a nod) during his Tuesday press conference. Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans could both see time there until either someone pulls away or Sydney Brown forces his way onto the field.
- The Eagles currently don’t have a punter or a holder. They can always temporarily elevate Arryn Siposs from the practice squad. But they should really just sign a new punter who is not as bad as him.
- Britain Covey is a candidate to be the Eagles’ punt returner; the team might look to temporarily elevate him from the practice squad. Covey also served as the backup holder last year.
- Over his entire NFL career, Olamide Zaccheaus has logged three regular season punt returns for 36 yards (occurred in 2021) and four preseason punt returns for eight yards (occurred in 2019). He’s clearly not the most experienced option back there.
- DeVonta Smith could see a punt return in a dire situation or if the team really needs a boost.
- Not perfectly clear who the backup long snapper is. Maybe Jack Stoll?