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August 29, 2018

Eagles 2018 roster: Locks, near-locks, bubble players, and long shots

Every Wednesday morning throughout training camp and the preseason, we've been publishing 53-man roster projections. Because we'll be putting out a final roster projection Friday morning (the day before cut-down day), let's look at the roster from a different angle.

Locks: No explanation needed (36)

Offense (17): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Defense (17): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham.

Special teams (2): Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato.

Locks: We'll explain why (9)

QB Nate Sudfeld: Some teams keep two quarterbacks. The Eagles will very clearly keep three, as Sudfeld is the heir to the Wentz backup job when Foles is not on the team next year.

WR Shelton Gibson: Gibson looked improved in camp, and then exploded with a great preseason.

TE Richard Rodgers: Rodgers' injury maybe leaves a little doubt as to his roster status, but he's much better than any of the other "third tight end" candidates, so he'll be safe.

OL Isaac Seumalo: He struggled with snaps during the preseason, but he is a position-versatile offensive lineman who can fill in at all five spots along the line. That's valuable.

OL Matt Pryor: He dominated in one-on-one's, but wasn't quite as good in the preseason games. Still, he more than showed ample upside to stick with the team.

OT Jordan Mailata: He's going to be on the 53-man roster, and not even an IR stash. His combination of his raw size and athleticism is too compelling not to develop over the course of the season, with the team.

DE Josh Sweat: He has a ways to go, but Sweat was a fourth round pick with freaky athleticism and upside. He's not going anywhere.

DT Destiny Vaeao: Vaeao got first-team reps for the bulk of training camp, and the team views him as a capable player.

CB Rasul Douglas: I've seen it suggested that Douglas is a cut possibility. Huh? When called upon as a rookie, I thought he more than held his own last season. He's not going anywhere, even with a shaky camp.

Locks, but injured (2)

DT Timmy Jernigan: Jernigan may or may not play at all this season. We'll see. He'll almost certainly begin the season on the NFI list.

S Chris Maragos: I worry about Maragos' career going forward after his serious injury. He'll also almost certainly start the season on PUP.

Near-locks (4)

DE Steven Means: Yes, he'd be the sixth DE in to make the roster (fifth on game day ahead of Sweat), but Lane Johnson has credited Means for pushing him in practice every day. The Eagles haven't needed Means in the regular season because they've stayed healthy at DE. They shouldn't just assume that luck will continue.

DT Bruce Hector: Hector is the most likely UDFA to make the roster, even ahead of Josh Adams.

LB Joe Walker: He's depth in the middle of the defense with some run-stopping ability.

P Cameron Johnston: After a bad start to camp, Johnston had a very good preseason.

Bubble players: I'll rank these guys in order of their likelihood of making the team (16)

To note, above there are 49 locks, or near-locks, leaving four spots from the menu of players below:

LB LaRoy Reynolds: Attitude player and quality special teamer.

S Tre Sullivan: He has consistently gotten second-team reps all throughout camp, and even worked in with the first team, pre-Corey Graham signing. He's fortunate that Chris Maragos remains out.

CB De'Vante Bausby: OTA standout who was less impressive in camp and the preseason. Jim Schwartz felt that Bausby could have filled in at corner last season if need be. 

RB Josh Adams: He's done some nice things in the preseason games when he has gotten opportunities, and presents more upside than guys like Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Matt Jones. The question here is whether or not the Eagles will even bother keeping four running backs. (I think they will, and I think it will be Adams.)

WR DeAndre Carter: He flashed in the third preseason game against the Browns. It would have been nice to get a full look at him throughout camp, but he's made the most of his opportunities both as a receiver and punt returner.

WR Kamar Aiken: The team likes him. I don't see it.

RB Wendell Smallwood: Smallwood has been OK in the preseason games, but ultimately, he's just kind of "a guy."

WR Markus Wheaton: Wheaton is a veteran receiver with upside, but a hamstring injury really hurt his chances of making the team. He may or may not play on Thursday against the Jets. If he doesn't, he's done. If he does, he'll need a highly impressive showing.

TE Josh Perkins: A golden opportunity to make the roster presented itself when Rodgers got hurt, but Perkins is dealing with a head injury himself and has not been able to play.

• OG Chance Warmack: With the five starters plus Vaitai-Seumalo-Pryor-Mailata all making the team, the Eagles would have to keep 10 offensive linemen to make room for Warmack. If they traded Warmack for literally anything, they'd save $1.6 million. If they cut him, it'd be a savings of $1.1 million.

CB D.J. Killings: Solid cover guy. Hasn't made any big plays, but hasn't stood out in any real negative ways either. That's bad for, say, a WR, but good for a CB.

CB Chandon Sullivan: Sort of a forgotten guy, but he's been solid.

DT Aziz Shittu: Oddly, Doug Pederson said Shittu stood out during OTAs and minicamp. Shittu has been OK, but there's no room.

DT Elijah Qualls: He has simply been outplayed by Bruce Hector. There's no argument for Qualls to make the club over him, but he was a draft pick so we won't completely bury him yet.

WR Rashard Davis: Known as an intriguing punt returner, I think he showed a lot more as a receiver, making some nice plays down the field. Ultimately, I think the team continues to develop him on the practice squad.

RB Donnel Pumphrey: I won't turn off the lights completely on Pump yet, as he'll have one last chance to show something Thursday night, but he has a lot of work to do in one game after missing the first three preseason games.

Long shots: Not ranked (22)

QB Joe Callahan: The signing of Christian Hackenberg might be bad even for Callahan's chances of making the practice squad (if the Eagles were even going to keep four quarterbacks in some capacity in the first place).

QB Christian Hackenberg: Hack might be destined for the practice squad. I can't figure any other reason the team would sign him mid-way through camp.

RB Matt Jones: He's big and he can break tackles, but he can't hold onto the football, either as a receiver or a runner, and he's slow.

WR Greg Ward: The results just haven't been there. Other bubble receivers have shown more.

WR Bryce Treggs: He was having a nice camp, but got hurt. If the team wants to keep him, he can easily slide in on the practice squad.

WR Tim Wilson: He showed more than expected, but has no chance of cracking the 53.

WR Darius Prince: Very late addition camp body.

TE Billy Brown: I know some of you are fans, but he's not making the team.

TE Gannon Sinclair: Big dude. That's about it.

TE Anthony Denham: Got signed yesterday to help the team get through the last preseason game.

OT Taylor Hart: He was better last year, and didn't make it, soooo...

OT Toby Weathersby: Showed enough to make the practice squad, but there's not enough room for him on the team.

OG Darrell Greene: Highly paid UDFA a year ago could stick on the practice squad as well.

OL Aaron Evans: Um... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

C Jon Toth: Like Evans above, I won't attempt to make any salient points about Jon Toth.

DE Danny Ezechukwu: Showed some promise against the Browns, but there's no room.

DE Joe Ostman: Try-hard guy who has a few nice pass rush moves, but is really undersized. 

DT Winston Craig: Hustler, but athletically limited.

LB Asante Brown: He hasn't played in about a month.

LB Kyle Wilson: Arguably the most forgettable player on the roster, and yet even he made more plays than Corey Nelson.

LB Jaboree Williams: The Eagles just signed him on Sunday to fill the roster spot vacated by Nelson.

S Jeremy Reaves: Some box-safety potential, which doesn't do him any good in Schwartz's scheme. Can't cover.

• S Deshawntee Gallon: They just signed this guy on Monday.

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