As we get closer and closer to the Eagles’ training camp and preseason, it’s time to start looking at how the team might shake out by the time the season starts in September.
The roster is definitely more talented than this time last year, but with more top-end talent, they might have a tougher time cutting down to 53 players and a few roster hopefuls might be let go.
Let’s take a look at whose a definite lock to make the Eagles.
Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew III
Barring an unforeseen trade of Gardner Minshew, I’d say it’s fairly certain that Hurts and Minshew will be the two quarterbacks on the roster. Hurts is going to get a great chance to take the next step in his development while Minshew is a competent backup that can step in if Hurts goes down.
The Eagles will also stash a quarterback on the practice squad and call them up as needed. For that spot, Reid Sinnett and undrafted free agent Carson Strong will battle it out.
Running back (3): Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott
The Eagles should have a nice trio of complementary runningbacks in Sanders, Gainwell, and Scott who can all be used in the run and pass game. Miles Sanders’ health, however, will be crucial this season if he wants to secure himself a contract at the end of the season.
They will likely carry one more running back on the roster and it will likely be between Jason Huntley and Kennedy Brooks, an UDFA from Oklahoma who the Eagles liked enough to give a sizable signing bonus to sway him to sign in Philadelphia. As of now, I’d give the edge to Brooks as the fourth running back.
Wide Receiver (4): A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal
The Eagles’ wide receiver room looks very crowded right now with the additions of A.J. Brown and Zach Pascal. These four are definite locks to make the roster, but look for the Eagles to carry two more. For those two spots, they have to choose between Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Greg Ward, and potential return specialists Britain Covey and Devon Allen.
It certainly seemed like the Eagles wanted to give Reagor another real shot to prove himself, so I’d lean towards him staying, but Greg Ward and Hightower have also played in the past and could be given a shot as a fifth or sixth receiver. Then there are the two return specialists in Covey and Allen who could give the Eagles a deadly fast return man. The preseason will tell us a lot about how the Eagles will approach their wide receiver situation.
Tight End (1): Dallas Goedert
Dallas Goedert will obviously be the starter, but behind him is a bit of a mystery. The Eagles will certainly carry three tight ends, but there are many different options to fill those two spots.
Jack Stoll received the most snaps last year behind Goedery but only tallied four receptions for 22 yards. But considering the lack of depth at the position, it’s likely he gets the second spot. Tyree Jackson would be an interesting option as a huge red-zone target at six-foot-seven but he is still recovering from an ACL injury from week 18 of last season. SO with Jackson likely out to start the season, it could be Grant Calcaterra that gets the nod in week one.
Offensive Line (8): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Cam Jurgens, Jack Driscoll
The starting five of Mailata, Dickerson, Kelce, Seumalo and Johnson is locked in and arguably the best in the league. But behind them, there are question marks about who will step in if one of those five goes down. The case of Andre Dillard is odd as they definitely need a backup tackle but Dillard has shown the inability to play both right and left tackle and could be traded if a more versatile option is available.
Cam Jurgens will be the backup center and will learn behind one of the best to ever do it in Jason Kelce while Jack Driscoll will be the main backup at guard. Sua Opeta, Jack Anderson, and Kayode Awosika will all compete for the final two spots.
Defensive Line (7): Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Josh Sweat
After a season where the defensive line really struggled to get to the quarterback and stop the run, the Eagles will get back a much-needed all-around boost in Brandon Graham who hopefully is the same player from before the Achilles injury. They’ll also add a huge body in the heart of their line in Jordan Davis who can help clog up running lanes and take on more than one offensive lineman.
They’ll likely try and keep one more lineman to rotate in behind these seven, likely rookie Tarron Jackson or Matt Leo.
Linebackers (4): Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean, Haason Reddick, T.J. Edwards
Arguably the most revamped position on the Eagles, Kyzir White, and Nakobe Dean will slot right in as starters next to T.J. Edwards while Reddick will be the Eagles’ top edge rusher.
Meanwhile, Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson, and Davion Taylor will probably be fighting for one spot as a special teams contributor.
Cornerbacks (4): Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson
Since adding James Bradberry, the Eagles plan at cornerback looks so much better on paper. Slay is a bonafide number one corner and Maddox played very well in the slot last season, so Bradberry fits in nicely as the number two. Behind them, second-year player Zech McPhearson is in line for an increased amount of snaps as a dime corner.
They’ll likely decide to carry two more corners and will have a lot of players competing for them. Right now, I’d say give the edge to Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent Jr. who were both acquired by trade last season, but UDFA Mario Goodrich could also make some noise.
Safeties (2): Marcus Epps, Jaquiski Tartt
The addition of Tartt certainly helps add some depth to a very thin position for the Eagles, as just a few weeks ago, it was just Epps as a lock to make the team. While this duo certainly shouldn’t make fans confident, it’s somewhat better than an Epps and K’Von Wallace duo.
Speaking of Wallace, he’ll need to prove himself as a solid special teams contributor who can step in as a third safety. He’s not a lock, but the Eagles are desperate for safeties, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t make it.
Special Teams (2): Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato
Elliott and Lovato will be here, but it would be surprising if the Eagles didn’t bring in another punter to challenge Arryn Siposs after a below-average season in 2021.
Featured Image: Yong Kim/ Philadelphia Inquirer