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August 30, 2019

Final 2019 Eagles 53-man roster projection

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083019NHowieRoseman Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

In what ways will you screw up my 53-man roster projection, Howie?

The Philadelphia Eagles' final preseason game is now mercifully in the books, and final cut-down day will be on Saturday. Let's go ahead and take one last crack at a 53-man roster projection. It was a little difficult to predict this year than in years past.

Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

I wouldn't completely rule out a trade of Sudfeld, but it's obviously far more likely he stays in Philly. If Sudfeld remains on the team, there's just no real way to justify Clayton Thorson staying on as a fourth quarterback on a loaded roster that is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

After putting some pretty bad tape out there the last month, Thorson will make it through waivers and the team will be able to add him to the practice squad. If by some strange chance he gets claimed, so be it.

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

The top four running backs are all locks. Otherwise, it's just a matter of whether or not the team keeps a fifth running back. If they do, my bet would be on Wendell Smallwood over Josh Adams, but I have both players being left off.

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

I get why some fans may be frustrated with Hollins, but he's going to make the roster, and the bet here is that the Eagles won't keep a sixth receiver.

Tight end (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins

If it's me, I'm cutting Richard Rodgers, who has a foot injury, and then signing him back to the team later in the season if I need him. I don't see any benefit in holding a roster spot hostage at cutdowns to keep a third TE when hasn't been able to stay healthy. Last year, the Eagles kept him under similar circumstances at cutdowns, then placed him on IR with the possibility of a return after eight weeks. They should not repeat that action. I mean, who exactly would be banging down his door to sign him?

I also think Perkins' stay on the 53-man roster could be short-lived, as I believe the Eagles will be in the market for a tight end on waivers, or through the trade market.

Offensive line (9): Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Andre Dillard, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor

There's nothing crazy here. The obvious omission is Stefen Wisniewski. In addition to scouring the waiver market for a tight end, I believe they'll also be looking for a serviceable backup center, though those aren't often available.

One other questionable player is Mailata, who now has a back injury. In his post-game press conference Thursday night, Doug Pederson said that Mailata is still undergoing tests on his back injury, and he won't have a good answer on his status until Friday morning, so a possibility exists that Mailata's injury could affect his season. For now, we'll keep him on the 53.

Defensive end (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller

Wait, six defensive ends? Yeah, it's a lot, but the team kept six in 2016, five in 2017, and five in 2018. The first three players above are locks. Beyond them?

  1. Hall played his ass off during the preseason. He's going to be the No. 4 DE this season.
  2. They don't want to give up prematurely on Sweat.
  3. They don't want to cut a fourth-round rookie in Miller.

Miller could maybe land on IR with a phony injury. If not, I think the team would opt to keep him.

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

Keeping 11 defensive linemen would perhaps be a little bit of overkill, but, well, I explained the logic on the defensive ends above, and all five of these defensive tackles are clearly better than any other player we've left off the roster.

Linebacker (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards

This is perhaps a mild surprise, but I have Edwards making the 53 as an undrafted rookie free agent. He showed enough in the last two games (18 tackles) to warrant a roster spot on a super-cheap contract.

Cornerback (5): Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Cre'Von LeBlanc

If the Eagles were to try to release LeBlanc and bring him back later in the season when he's healthy again, there's a pretty good chance Joe Douglas would simply add him to his roster right now, seeing as the Jets' corners stink and they have plenty of space on their roster to wait for LeBlanc to get healthy. As such, I believe the Eagles will keep him on their 53 initially, and then IR him with the possibility of a return.

If the Eagles release Scandrick, his salary isn't guaranteed for the season. They could add him back after Week 1, and he would simply take the place of the roster spot vacated by LeBlanc if he were to go on short-term IR.

Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien

The Eagles traded for safety Rudy Ford, but Ford did not play at all in the preseason. He was sidelined Thursday night with "a lower body injury that just needed some rest," per Pederson.

Ugh. The Eagles could likely get Ford onto their practice squad, but I know that he is going to make the roster and screw up my 53.

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

Duh.

PUP

• CB Jalen Mills

Season-ending IR

• DE Joe Ostman

Practice squad

  1. QB Clayton Thorson
  2. RB Josh Adams
  3. RB Boston Scott
  4. WR Marken Michel
  5. TE Alex Ellis
  6. iOL Nate Herbig
  7. OG Sua Opeta
  8. OT Brett Toth
  9. CB Sojourn Shelton
  10. S Rudy Ford


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