June 15, 2017
With the Philadelphia Eagles' spring practices essentially in the books (there's one more walk-through today), let's update the 53-man roster projection based on practice observations.
Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Matt McGloin
McGloin got a lot of reps over the last couple weeks with Foles out, and he looked OK, I suppose. There are debatable views on the value of keeping a third quarterback on the roster. About half the teams in the NFL only carry two. My personal preference is to only carry two unless QB No. 3 is a young guy with some upside that you're trying to develop. That's not what McGloin is, but I think he sticks due to a lack of depth elsewhere.
Running back (4): LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood
I'll note here that Pumphrey has gotten noticeably more reps in practice than Smallwood, but this quartet feels fairly obvious at this point in the offseason.
Wide receiver (5): Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins
The notable omission here would be rookie fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson, who struggled mightily with drops during the spring. The problem was that they weren't just drops on difficult passes, or with defensive backs on him. They were drops in individual drills, as is, with no defenders around. Gibson has a difficult transition going from a remedial offense in college to a more sophisticated one in the pros, so it's going to take some time for him to get up to speed in the NFL.
Beyond the transition to the NFL, scheme-wise, Gibson should still be expected to catch the ball in simple drills. If he continues to play anything like he did during the spring, his progression is going to have to happen while occupying a spot on the practice squad.
Tight end (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
Anthnoy Denham has had some decent moments, but not enough to make the team. This is the easiest position to call on the roster.
Offensive line (10): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Allen Barbre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack, Dillon Gordon.
The Eagles have an over-abundance of depth along their offensive line, which is a great thing. We'll see if any teams come calling for guys like Jason Kelce or Allen Barbre during the summer.
Defensive line (10): Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, Steven Means, Elijah Qualls, Destiny Vaeao, Gabe Wright.
Beau Allen will provide some relief when he is able to return from his pectoral injury, but for now, we'll project him to land on the PUP list. With some injuries at DT, newcomer Gabe Wright has gotten quite a few reps, at times with the first-team defense.
The Marcus Smith era in Philly is over.
Linebacker (6): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Joe Walker, Nathan Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill
Mychal Kendricks is still just... there.
Cornerback (5): Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Rasul Douglas, Ron Brooks, Aaron Grymes
Obviously, this isn't pretty. Douglas showed some promise this spring, and at some point, whether that be in the second half of the 2017 season or in 2018, Sidney Jones will be back from his ruptured Achilles. We'll project him to start the season on the PUP list. There is hope for the future here, but in 2017 it could be rough sledding.
The Eagles could probably stash Grymes or C.J. Smith comfortably on the practice squad. If a decision comes down to those two players, the Eagles may simply choose the one they think is more likely to be poached by another team, which again, is unlikely with either guy, depending on preseason performance.
Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Terrence Brooks, Chris Maragos
Brooks has looked good in the spring. He could unseat Jaylen Watkins as the third safety.
Specialists (3): Caleb Sturgis, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
PUP list: Beau Allen, Sidney Jones.
Practice squad: RB Corey Clement, WR Shelton Gibson, WR Marcus Johnson, WR Greg Ward, TE Anthony Denham, C Tyler Orlosky, DE Alex McCalister, DT Winston Craig, LB Don Cherry, CB C.J. Smith.
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