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July 25, 2021

Eagles pre-training camp 53-man roster projection

Eagles NFL
Carroll - Eagles Training Camp Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Please enjoy this generic photo of players huddling up as a team during a training camp practice.

With Philadelphia Eagles players scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday, perhaps it makes some sense to project the final 53-man roster for the purpose of showing which players have work to do, and which ones will hope to hold onto their spots? 

Yes? No? Whatever, let's just do this.

Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco

Cuts (1): Nick Mullens

Hurts will start, and while I believe that Nick Mullens is just as good as Flacco, Flacco has a fully guaranteed $3.5 million contract, so he's going to be the backup, barring an absolutely atrocious camp.

Because Mullens was still looking for a job deep into June, the Eagles can probably safely stash him on the practice squad for a rainy day.

Running back (5): Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson, Jason Huntley

Cuts (3): Jordan Howard, Adrian Killins, Elijah Holyfield

Running back is one of the Eagles' deeper positions, so they may as well keep a surplus of them. In my opinion, Johnson is a more effective player in pass protection and even as a short-yardage runner than Howard, and that he's beat Howard out for a backup spot, as long as he's healthy (which remains in question). I also like Huntley's chances of sticking because of his speed.

Wide receiver (6): DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, Quez Watkins, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Cuts (3): John Hightower, Jhamon Ausbon, Michael Walker

The ages of the six receivers we have making the cut? 22, 22, 25, 26, 23, and 24. There were some who believed that the Eagles should add a veteran receiver to that group, and if this were a season in which the Eagles were considered a Super Bowl contender, I'd agree. Since they're not, just go young!

I believe that Howie Roseman will hold onto hope that Arcega-Whiteside can begin to produce under a new offensive staff, so he'll get one last shot to show something in real games this season. I'm not quite as high on Hightower's chances on getting a second chance.

Tight end (3): Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Jack Stoll

Cuts (4): Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom, Hakeem Butler, Tyree Jackson

Traded (1): Zach Ertz

The Ertz situation still has to play out, but I remain unsold that he will be back with the team this season. DickRod is back for a another season, and take your pick between Stoll, Wilson, Croom, Butler, and Jackson on who will be the third tight end. 

We'll take Stoll for now, with very little confidence, and based on little more than that he received the highest amount of guaranteed money and the most lucrative signing bonus among the team's undrafted free agents.

Offensive line (9): Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, Andre Dillard, Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig

Cuts (8): Sua Opeta, Matt Pryor, Brett Toth, Luke Juriga, Kayode Awosika, Casey Tucker, Ross Pierschbacher, Harry Crider

PUP (1): Le'Raven Clark

There's an outside chance the Eagles trade Dillard, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Eagles kept 10 linemen, in which case I would have Opeta making the team over Pryor.

The offensive line is a rare spot where the Eagles have a surplus of depth, so look for Roseman to try to deal a backup lineman for either a pick or another player.

Defensive line (9): Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu, Tarron Jackson

Cuts (7): Hasson Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill, Joe Ostman, Raequan Williams, Willie Henry, Matt Leo, JaQuan Bailey

The first seven guys above are locks, while Tuipulotu, Ridgeway, and Jackson will compete for roster spots and playing time. Here we have two of those three guys sticking, with Ridgeway landing on the practice squad.

Linebacker (6): Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, JaCoby Stevens, Davion Taylor

Cuts (3): Genard Avery, Patrick Johnson, Rashad Smith

Taylor and Bradley will get another chance to prove that they can play in this league after a COVID-wrecked offseason last year. We're going light at safety below, which would help a guy like Stevens, who could perhaps play a hybrid role. If the Eagles intend on developing Patrick Johnson into a traditional off-ball linebacker, they can probably stash him on the practice squad while he learns his new role. 

And then there's Genard Avery, who is moving from DE to LB, which will be a better fit for his skill set. He'll have the "advantage" of the Eagles wasting a fourth-round pick to acquire him at the 2019 trade deadline. If any LBs or DEs get injured, I would have him as the next guy in.

Cornerback (6): Darius Slay, Craig James, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Michael Jacquet, Josiah Scott

Cuts (4): Shakial Taylor, Kevon Seymour, Lavert Hill, Nate Meadors

The Eagles still haven't added a clear starting outside corner opposite Slay. Maybe they just stick with what they have? If so, I don't think that's the worst outcome for a rebuilding team, but in the short term there will be some games in which they get torched on the back end that will be tough to watch.

Safety (4): Anthony Harris, Rodney McLeod, K'Von Wallace, Marcus Epps

Cuts (3): Andrew Adams, Grayland Arnold, Elijah Riley

McLeod could potentially start training camp — and subsequently the regular season — on the PUP list, in which case he wouldn't count toward the initial roster, and could serve as a reinforcement later in the season. I'll bet that he's on the initial 53. He'll start opposite Harris whenever ready, while Wallace, Epps, and Adams will battle it out for the third safety role.

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Arryn Siposs, Rick Lovato

All of the Eagles' specialists are currently running unopposed.

Podcast: We discussed each of the Eagles' positional groups in more depth in podcast form below (BGN Radio episode #193):

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RELATED: Eagles 2021 depth chart

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