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August 08, 2023

More thoughts on the Eagles' six recent roster moves

Jimmy Kempski breaks down some of Philly's roster behavior from the last few days.

Eagles NFL
080823ZachCunningham George Walker IV/USA TODAY Sports

New Eagles LB Zach Cunningham

The Philadelphia Eagles made six roster moves over the last few days. Let's cover all six.

They signed LBs Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham

It felt like a strong likelihood before training camp even began that the Eagles were going to add to their depth at linebacker. Six practices into camp that "likelihood" became a near certainty, as none of the linebackers currently on the roster have stood out in a positive way.

Jack has seven years of NFL experience. He was drafted 36th overall by Jacksonville, where he played for six years, appearing in 88 games, starting 82. In 2022, he signed with Pittsburgh, where he played in 15 games, starting 13. He recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his last three seasons, but he only has 2 career forced fumbles and 3 career INTs.

Cunningham was drafted 57th overall by the Texans in 2017, where he played for four full seasons. In 2020, Cunningham led the NFL with 164 tackles. He was waived in-season in his fifth year in Houston and was claimed by Tennessee, where he finished out the 2021 season and played in 2022. He only played in six games in 2022, due to an elbow injury. Like Jack above, Cunningham hasn't produced much in the way of splash plays throughout his career, as he has just 5 forced fumbles and 1 INT in 6 seasons as a pro.

Nick Sirianni said that the Eagles added Jack and Cunningham because they were light on numbers at the position, and then he went on to praise every other linebacker still on the roster.

"We are low, a little bit low, at that position as far as the amount of guys," he said. "We really do feel good about the room. We just wanted to bring in some extra competition to let things shake out and see. At the end of the day the best guys will play. But I think Nakobe [Dean] has done a great job. Obviously, he's working through this ankle injur­­y, but he's done a great job and we have a lot of confidence in him.

"Nick Morrow has looked good. So has Christian [Elliss] and Shaun [Bradley]. We feel like Ben [VanSumeren] is a good developmental prospect.

"But we just wanted to add competition to the room, and that's one of our core values, is competition. So, when you bring in good players, like these two guys have been in this league, that's only going to raise the level of everybody else in the room and on the defense."

It can be true that the team added a couple of players to create more competition, but it's also no coincidence that they added two at the team's most concerning positional group.

Jack and Cunningham are now the team's two most experienced linebackers. Here are the Eagles' linebackers' career snaps played in the regular defense (special teams snaps omitted):

Player Career snaps 
Myles Jack 5431 
Zach Cunningham 4304 
Nicholas Morrow 3505 
Shaun Bradley 131 
Nakobe Dean 34 
Christian Elliss 29 
Ben VanSumeren 

So, they do bring experience to the table, but there's also a reason that they were both still free agents in August, willing to sign for low-money deals.

I'm not so sure that Howie Roseman is done here.

They signed C/G Josh Andrews

The Eagles tried to put more on Brett Toth's plate this year, giving him an opportunity as the second-team center. Toth's poor snapping ability in shotgun not only made him a clearly unviable player at center, but has also ruined a lot of reps through the first seven practices. Andrews should at least be able to come in and snap the ball in practice.

They waived Davion Taylor

After a rough rookie season in 2020, Taylor started six games for the Eagles in the middle of the season in 2021 against the Buccaneers, Raiders, Lions, Chargers, Broncos, and Saints. He suffered a sprained knee against the Saints, went on injured reserve, and was done for the season. Taylor had his best game as a pro in Denver Week 10 in 2021, when he forced a pair of fumbles against the Broncos, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Darius Slay. 

In 2022, Taylor was having a nice camp, but he had a couple of brutal performances in the preseason games and was left off of the 53-man roster. Taylor was drafted as a raw-but-athletic prospect in the third round, and he has simply not developed awareness-wise as a professional linebacker.

They waived/injured Charleston Rambo

In his final season in college at Miami, Rambo caught 79 passes for 1172 yards and 7 TDs, but went undrafted. He signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent, but did not make their 53-man roster, and did not spend the season on any team's practice squad. He was drafted into the XFL by the Orlando Guardians, where he finished 10th in the XFL with 430 receiving yards.

This year he got a tryout during rookie camp, and landed a spot on the 90-man roster in training camp, which was short-lived. 

They waived OT Trevor Reid

This one was a surprise. I certainly wasn't projecting Reid to make the 53-man roster at this point, but he was hardly the worst offensive lineman or offensive tackle on the team, and his athletic tools were worthy of further development on the practice squad. There must have been something the staff didn't like aside from his play on the field.

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