August 09, 2017
The first 14 days of training camp are in the books, and just like he did in the last version of our 53-man roster projections, Carson Wentz will make the team, in my opinion. Here's who else we'll project to make the final 53-man roster, which we'll update every week (inactive Week 1 players in red).
Quarterback (2): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
As we noted in our Tuesday practice notes, McGloin just isn't very good. His accuracy has been erratic, and there just isn't any juice on his throws. Maybe he can show more in the preseason games than he has in camp, but I've been unimpressed with his game.
In previous seasons, the Eagles have had some pretty crappy depth. In a situation like that, I could wrap my head around keeping a third quarterback who maybe isn't that good, but at least knows the offense well enough, should he be needed in an emergency. However, I think the Eagles' depth is better this year, so keeping a young position player with some upside over a guy like McGloin, who has no real upside, would be my preference if I were the Eagles.
That said, the Eagles can't cut McGloin until Foles gets healthy, and I don't know when that will be.
Running back (4): LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey
In our last version, I wondered if Smallwood could be challenged by undrafted free agent Corey Clement. Nope. Smallwood ran like a man possessed in padded practices and really showed that he belongs on the roster. I no longer have questions about him making the team.
Wide receiver (7): Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson, Greg Ward
Wait. Seven receivers?!? Yep. Marcus Johnson is a lock at this point, and I've been impressed enough by Greg Ward that I would not chance leaving him exposed on the practice squad.
I believe there's still a chance the team trades Matthews, which would of course bring this total down to six. Trust me, that math is correct. I used a calculator.
Tight end (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
The wildcard here is Billy Brown, who has caught the ball well in practice. That shouldn't be a surprise, as he racked up over 1500 yards and 22 TDs in his last season at Shepherd University as a wide receiver. The challenge for Brown will be whether or not he can show that he can become a competent blocker and special teams contributor. I think he's a little ways away there, but the Eagles can develop those skills over time while Brown occupies a spot on the practice squad.
Celek has acknowledged that this could be his last year in the NFL, so Brown could be a guy who makes the team in 2018 and beyond.
Offensive line (9): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Dillon Gordon, Chance Warmack
Previously, I had Tyler Orlosky making the club, but it would appear that he has fallen out of favor to some degree. He has been working with the third team offense at RG, while Aaron Neary was playing center. I think that's a bad sign for Orlosky, whose primary position is center. There's maybe an argument to be made that they're just cross-training him at guard, but my sense is that Neary is ahead of him at the moment.
The rest of the offensive linemen listed above are obvious, in my view.
Defensive line (8): Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, Destiny Vaeao, Justin Hamilton
Last time around, I had Alex McCalister making the team on the strength of some positive Jim Schwartz comments, but I simply can't justify it based on what I've seen in practice.
The newcomer to the list is Hamilton, who has very quietly had a solid camp, and is consistently getting second-team snaps.
We're going a little light along the defensive line, however, at some point Beau Allen will be rejoining the team.
Linebacker (6): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Nathan Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker
The more I think about it, I still think the Eagles trade Kendricks. He can be a better player in a defense that uses their linebackers more aggressively, but he's not a good player in Jim Schwartz's scheme, and the dropoff from him to the next guy up isn't steep for what the Eagles ask their linebackers to do. Just do it.
I'll also note a couple more things here:
Cornerback (6): Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Ron Brooks, Rasul Douglas, C.J. Smith, Aaron Grymes
Robinson has been better in recent days, but the Eagles could very well still look outside the organization for a different Band Aid corner to replace him.
Safety (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Chris Maragos, Terrence Brooks
The signing of Graham is bad news for Brooks and Watkins. I would give Brooks the edge at the moment, but I don't think Brooks is a lock just yet.
Specialists (3): Caleb Sturgis, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
NFI (Non-football injury list): DT Beau Allen, CB Sidney Jones
Practice squad (10): QB Dane Evans (or some other team's released QB), RB Corey Clement, WR Shelton Gibson, TE Billy Brown, OL Darrell Greene, OL Tyler Orlosky, DE Alex McCalister, DT Elijah Qualls, LB Don Cherry, CB Jomal Wiltz
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