Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Pre-preseason edition

I made my first 53-man roster prediction back in June, but now with a couple weeks of training camp completed, it’s time to update that list. The Eagles have made multiple transactions since then, adding players who appear worthwhile and releasing players due to injuries. Here’s my updated look at who I think will make the Eagles’ roster, as of now:

Quarterback

Keep: Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow
Cut: Matt Barkley

Nothing has really changed here. I still firmly believe that the Eagles will hold onto Tebow and let Barkley go, whether that’s in a trade or just releasing him. I think Barkley will make it through the first round of cuts, but there’s no point in keeping Barkley anymore. He hasn’t shown any improvement over the past couple years. In my opinion, he’d have to really impress in preseason to make me change my mind.

Running Back

Keep: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles
Cut: Kenjon Barner, Kevin Monangai, Raheem Mostert

The one change here is that Monangai is on the team and Matthew Tucker isn’t, but I don’t think either had a chance of making the team anyway. Barner can return kicks, but I think they probably have that covered already with the guys they already have. He’s nothing special as an actual running back. Mostert has apparently impressed and has the best chance on sneaking on, but I see him more as a practice squad guy.

Wide Receiver

Keep: Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, Nelson Agholor, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu
Cut: Rasheed Bailey, Mike Johnson, Jeff Maehl, Freddie Martino, Josh Reese, Quron Pratt

Nothing has changed here in terms of who makes the team. Cooper is probably the worst player that is going to make this team, but due to his contract, he’s going to have to stay. Austin is also kind of a worthless player, but it’s good to have a veteran in the group of young receivers around him as opposed to keeping someone like Bailey or Pratt, who have a shot at making the practice squad.

Tight End

Keep: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
Cut: Andrew Gleichert, Eric Tomlinson, Justin Tukes

With Ertz already getting injured, I have considered adding a fourth tight end like they did last year. James Casey really didn’t play enough though to warrant keeping a fourth one this year, even if Ertz or Celek miss a lot of games. Burton was mostly for special teams last year anyway. If they want to add a fourth, he better be able to play special teams because that’s probably all he’ll be doing.

Offensive Line

Keep: Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Julian Vandervelde, John Moffitt, David Molk, Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner
Cut: Josh Andrews, Brett Boyko, Malcolm Bunche, Mike Coccia, Jared Wheeler, Kevin Graf, Cole Manhart, Dennis Kelly

Most of this remains the same, except I added a ninth guy in John Moffitt since he’s been battling for the starting right guard position. It seems like Gardner has the edge right now over him, Tobin and Vandervelde, but since many of those guys can play multiple positions and aren’t too bad, they’ll likely all make the team. I don’t see any of the undrafted free agents making the team, although I’m sure one or two will make the practice squad. Once again, I leave Kelly, Graf and Andrews, who have been on the team before, off the roster. They’re just not good.

Defensive End

Keep: Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Taylor Hart
Cut: Brandon Bair, Alfy Hill, Brian Mihalik

I decided to release Bair this time instead of keep five defensive ends. I might change my mind again here, but Bair is just an average player and is already 30 years old. Hart has also apparently looked good, and he’s an Oregon guy too. I think Hart moves into Bair’s role from last year and they just stick with four guys.

Defensive Tackle

Keep: Bennie Logan, Beau Allen
Cut: Wade Keliikipi, Travis Raciti

This is the exact same as last time. There aren’t any changes to the personnel in the group, and I think they still only keep two nose tackles on the main roster. I expect either Keliikipi or Raciti to make the practice squad though.

Outside Linebacker

Keep: Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Bryan Braman, Brad Jones
Cut: Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, Diaheem Watkins

I originally had Jones as being cut, but I listed him in the inside linebacker group and there’s just too much depth there. With Travis Long tearing his ACL and Brandon Hepburn being released due to injury, I switched Jones onto the roster as a backup OLB, where he has been practicing. He also is good on special teams which is always important. As for the guys I listed as getting released, I barely know who they are. Let’s see them in a game if they want a shot at the practice squad.

Inside Linebacker

Keep: Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks DeMeco Ryans, Jordan Hicks, Najee Goode
Cut: Deontae Skinner, Emmanuel Acho

This is the same group of guys on the “keep” list, although I still kind of have a problem with releasing Acho. He’s a very good special teams player and may eventually beat out Goode. They seemed very high on Goode when he was injured, but since he’s returned, there hasn’t been as much hype. Alonso, Kendricks and Ryans are all out for the first preseason game, and it looks like Jones and Acho could be the starters over Goode and Hicks. Those four guys are definitely ones to keep an eye on moving forward.

Cornerback

Keep: Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, Jaylen Watkins, E.J. Biggers, Denzel Rice
Cut: Randall Evans, Marc Anthony

This is the position group that has probably changed the most. The Eagles traded Brandon Boykin with the intention of sliding JaCorey Shepherd into the starting nickel role. Then Shepherd tore his ACL and he’ll miss the whole season. They’ve been switching Rowe, Watkins and Biggers in through the nickel slot, so I think all three make the team. I also added Rice to the roster. I’ve been hearing good things about him, and I think it’s smart to keep six cornerbacks. Evans might switch in there though if he makes an impact in preseason, especially since he was drafted and Rice wasn’t.

Safety

Keep: Malcolm Jenkins, Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Chris Prosinski
Cut: Jerome Couplin, Earl Wolff, Ed Reynolds

Thurmond looks like he’s locked up the other starting safety slot, but the third safety on the roster is still up for grabs. I think Prosinski has the current edge over any of them after recording three interceptions in camp so far. Couplin has missed the past couple weeks recovering from an appendectomy and will miss Sunday’s game against the Colts too, which is only hurting his chances of making the roster. Wolff will really need to step up to prove he’s worthy of keeping, and Reynolds is just bad.

Special Teams

Keep: Cody Parkey, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
Cut: Kip Smith

Nothing new here. All three special teams guys have their positions locked up barring injuries.

Overview

New additions since last prediction: John Moffitt, Brad Jones, E.J. Biggers, Denzel Rice, Chris Prosinski
New subtractions since last prediction: Brandon Bair, Travis Long, Brandon Boykin, JaCorey Shepherd, Jerome Couplin

Some time in the next couple of weeks, I will be releasing the third version of my prediction. Stay tuned.

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