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August 09, 2019

Eagles 53-man roster projection after the first preseason game

Eagles NFL
080919NateSudfeld Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

What the Eagles do at quarterback depends on how long they project Nate Sudfeld to be out.

The first Philadelphia Eagles preseason game is mercifully in the books, so let's go ahead and project what the 53-man roster will look like after final cuts, shall we?

Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Cody Kessler

OK, so I think I have the Eagles' quarterback situation figured out, and it all depends on how long Sudfeld will be out.

• If the team thinks Sudfeld will definitely be out longer than eight weeks during the regular season, then they should put him on IR, with the idea that they'll reactivate him whenever he's ready. In this event, the Eagles should actively be looking to find a better No. 2 than Kessler. This does not seem like a likely outcome, as Sudfeld probably won't be out that long.

• If the team thinks Sudfeld's injury won't keep him out an extended period of time, then they can just wait it out with Kessler as the No. 2 in the short-term, as Kessler does at least have 12 career starts. This is the more likely scenario, in my view. If a quarterback better than Kessler comes available, then sure, go get him. 

The guy hurt most by Sudfeld's injury is Clayton Thorson, as he obviously can never be "the next guy up" in any scenario, as you all saw Thursday night. As such, in order to keep Thorson, the team would have to roster four quarterbacks. On a Super Bowl-contending team, that's a bad use of a roster spot. The Eagles will simply have to "risk" allowing Thorson to pass through waivers to try to get him to the practice squad, though I'm not sure who exactly will watch his preseason tape and say, "We gotta have that guy!"

Running back (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement

Josh Adams has fumbling problems and doesn't offer much of anything in the passing game, either as a receiver or blocker. Meanwhile, Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey don't offer anything that you aren't already getting out of Sproles.

I do see a path for Wendell Smallwood to survive yet another cut-down day, should the Eagles sustain more injuries, or if Clement can't return to the form he showed in 2017.

Wide receiver (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins

The first four guys are locks, and I don't think Howie Roseman is quite ready to give up on Hollins yet.

Marken Michel made a big play Thursday night and certainly helped his chances of making the roster, but I believe he still has more work to do.

Tight end (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers

Assuming Richard Rodgers is healthy, there's no reason to keep any of the Eagles' other tight ends.

Offensive line (10): Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Andre Dillard, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor

Mailata hasn't had a strong camp, and Pryor stunk in the game last night, but I believe the Eagles will continue to develop those guys. If we're going to make excuses for them, it's noteworthy that Mailata is learning a second position this year, and Pryor has been working at four different spots. But certainly, both guys have to play better. Pryor's seat is warm.

Defensive end (5): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller

With Joe Ostman now on IR with a torn ACL, that paves the way for Miller to comfortably make the roster (as opposed to being talked into going on phantom IR). The other four guys are locks.

Defensive tackle (5): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway, Treyvon Hester

Yes, I think the Eagles will keep 10 offensive linemen and 10 defensive linemen. All five of these DTs are roster-worthy, and oh by the way, Hester blocked yet another kick Thursday night.

Linebacker (5): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort

I thought Fort looked pretty good last night, as he flashed some speed and made a big hit in the middle of the field. They'll keep him, rather than cut him for the sake of gaining a compensatory pick. Otherwise, I think the Eagles will go thin at linebacker while Grugier-Hill recovers from his MCL injury.

Cornerback (6): Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Orlando Scandrick, Cre'Von LeBlanc

For now, we'll continue to project Jalen Mills to stay on the PUP list for the first six weeks, with Scandrick holding down the vacated corner spot until he returns.

Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Blake Countess

Countess is clearly ahead of Tre Sullivan in the pecking order at safety, and Sullivan didn't help himself much Thursday night. Johnathan Cyprien is also just kind of lucking for now. We'll see if he can make some plays and put pressure on Countess for a roster spot as the preseason continues.

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato

None of these guys have any competition.


• CB Jalen Mills: There's no indication that Mills is returning anytime soon, and I think he'll start the season on PUP, thus making him ineligible to play the first six weeks of the season. With plenty of corner depth, the Eagles can afford to take their time with Mills.

Practice squad

  1. QB Clayton Thorson
  2. RB Boston Scott
  3. WR Marken Michel
  4. Some TE currently on another roster
  5. OT Ryan Bates
  6. OG Sua Opeta
  7. DE Daeshon Hall
  8. LB T.J. Edwards
  9. CB Jay Liggins
  10. S Tre Sullivan

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