One reporter's guess on the Eagles' final roster

Posted: August 29, 2014

The Eagles have one more preseason game and two days before they must trim their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline. Here's one beat reporter's early predictions:

Quarterbacks (3): Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Barkley.

There had been some speculation that G.J. Kinne could beat out Barkley for the final spot, or that the Eagles could carry only two quarterbacks. But Barkley solidified his No. 3 standing after a rough spring, and Kinne is probably once again practice-squad fodder.

Running backs (4): LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, and Kenjon Barner.

Polk's hamstring injury has clouded his roster chances, but the Eagles will take his past production into consideration. Barner, acquired last week in a trade, will squeeze out Matthew Tucker and Henry Josey because he also can return kicks.

Wide receivers (6): Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Brad Smith, and Jeff Maehl.

Huff is still nursing a shoulder injury and hasn't appeared ready to contribute immediately, so the Eagles will start with six receivers. Brad Smith's versatility earns him a spot. Maehl also has the special-teams factor and nudges out Ifeanyi Momah and Damaris Johnson. Arrelious Benn hasn't looked the same since last camp's knee injury.

Tight ends (3): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, and James Casey.

Almost all of Casey's 2014 salary is guaranteed, so he isn't going anywhere. He's also a jack of all trades. Trey Burton has receiving skills, but needs to work on his blocking. The Eagles will likely try to hide him on the practice squad.

Offensive linemen (8): Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, and David Molk.

Lane Johnson's four-game suspension keeps him off the roster for now, but the Eagles can survive with eight linemen for the time being. That leaves Dennis Kelly on the outside.

Defensive linemen (7): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart, and Brandon Bair.

Not many could have predicted Bair's Cinderella run to the roster, but no one other than the Eagles - because practices are closed - saw what they had after he was signed to the practice squad last September. He helped nudge out Damion Square despite Square's ability to play multiple spots up front. Nose tackle Beau Allen's smooth transition to the NFL also squeezed out Square. Hart will be inactive on game days to start.

Outside linebackers (6): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Marcus Smith, Bryan Braman, Brandon Graham, and Travis Long.

The Eagles have been touting Long's progress since the spring. They also added inside-linebacker duties to his plate, making him all but a lock. Graham is too valuable as a pass rusher to keep off the roster. It is still possible he gets dealt to a 4-3 team. Braman missed some time with a back injury and hasn't stood out this summer. Cutting a free-agent addition wouldn't be unprecedented, but the Eagles specifically signed him to upgrade special teams.

Inside linebackers (3): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, and Najee Goode.

Long's preseason snaps inside made it clear the Eagles weren't happy with their options beyond Ryans, Kendricks, and Goode. They could eventually sign someone off the waiver wire, but Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho haven't merited the Eagles' keeping four inside linebackers.

Cornerbacks (5): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, and Jaylen Watkins.

Carroll has brought some much-needed depth to cornerback and has made Curtis Marsh and Roc Carmichael expendable. Watkins has been learning both the outside and slot spots, but the rookie may not dress right away.

Safeties (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos, and Ed Reynolds.

Reynolds, a fifth-round draft pick, isn't a no-brainer to make the team. More than likely, the Eagles give him the nod ahead of Keelan Johnson. Both missed time since the draft, but only one was arrested.

Specialists (3): Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, and Jon Dorenbos.

Barring another chip-shot miss, Henery should survive the latest challenge from Cody Parkey. There's a school of thought that the Eagles should just hand the job to "Anybody But Henery," but it's going to be difficult for them to go with Parkey. Rookie kickers generally have a difficult time making the jump to the NFL, particularly on field goals. Henery will be on a short leash, though, and the Eagles could conceivably carry two kickers to open the season.


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|