The Eagles hold their first on-field practice of the team’s training camp today, and while there won’t be pads or contact, there’s plenty to look forward to as the NFL season creeps closer. There may be literally every other sport currently on to distract us from football, but that won’t keep us from projecting the team’s opening 53-man roster. Without further ado:
QB (3)—Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts
No competitions here, my only hope is one of Sudfeld or Hurts proves to be a reliable #2. That sounds fine in theory, but I think we all know that if (god forbid) Wentz gets hurt again the front office will most likely be scrambling for someone with real experience or talent—preferably a little bit of both.
RB (4)—Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Elijah Holyfield
I’m glad to have Clement back in the fold (he’s a special teams lock if healthy) and Holyfield should add a little thump that was previously missing from this backfield. Otherwise, Sanders with a little Scott mixed in is a duo I‘m very excited about.
WR (6)—DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, John Hightower, Quez Watkins
This position looked a whole lot better when it looked like Jeffrey could be healthy and Goodwin was still on the roster. With Alshon likely to start the year on the PUP list and Goodwin having opted out, all of a sudden this group is going to rely on 33-year old DeSean and rookie Jalen Reagor to carry a massive workload.
It’s definitely possible they try to add a veteran body to compete for one of the Hightower/Watkins spots. Though it’s probably more likely they go with five bodies and wait for Alshon to get healthy (Watkins/Hightower likely can be stashed on the practice squad if so).
TE (3)—Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins
Not much to see here. They could opt to go with just two TE’s but I think they like having a body beyond the two marquee names on the depth chart. There are other contenders for the third spot but Perkins is the easy favorite.
OL (10)—Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Andre Dillard, Matt Pryor, Nate Herbig, Jack Driscoll, Prince-Tega Wanogho, Luke Juriga
Beyond Lane, Kelce, and JP this is a pretty young group, but it also might be a little deeper than in years past. Some might look at this list and wonder about backup tackle, but with Peters still around, Pryor having experience there, and Driscoll reportedly getting work at tackle that’s not as much of a concern.
Juriga is the only “surprise” here, but the team gave him the most guaranteed money out of every undrafted free agent, and I get the sense the front office wants to stockpile young interior bodies to prepare for Kelce’s looming retirement.
DL (9)—Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Malik Jackson, Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry, Hassan Ridgeway, Gernard Avery
The top four tackles and ends are pretty much set in my opinion. I think most people will have a fifth end in the 53-man, but the versatility of the group as a whole makes that less certain. Raequan Williams is a possibility for that final spot as a UDFA, as is someone like Joe Ostman, but considering Howie traded a 4th rounder for Gernard Avery it’s his job to lose.
LB (5)—Nate Gerry, TJ Edwards, Duke Riley, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley
Jatavis Brown retiring makes this a lot more simple. Gerry figures to be in line for a three-down role, and Edwards is set to step in as the early-down Mike. Other than than that Riley is a lock special teamer, Taylor is an uber-athletic project, and while Bradley will need to earn his spot (practice squad is likely) he definitely benefits from a lack of bodies at this position.
DB (10)—Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Rodney McLeod, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace, Jalen Mills, Mike Jacquet
There’s so much to discuss with the secondary in terms of training camp storylines and position battles, but for the most part there’s a nine-man group that’s more or less set. Rasul Douglas could stick around but it feels like his time is up, and a lot of people will talk about Craig James, Grayland Arnold and some other names as players who can earn their way on the roster, but my money is on Jacquet if anyone.
ST (3)—Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnson, Rick Lovato
You can obviously ink these three names.