Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Version 3.0

My second version of my Eagles 53-man roster prediction came just before the start of the preseason, but now that we’ve seen some real game action, it’s time to update it. They made their first round of cuts, which didn’t feature anyone particularly surprising, but we could be in store for a couple surprise cuts next time around. Here’s my updated prediction:

Quarterback

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

The more preseason games I see, the more I wonder why I keep including Tebow on this roster. He really isn’t a good football player, no matter what his role is. But then I remind myself that either way, he’s fighting for a third-string spot. It’s not like he’s going to play anyway…or is he? Chip Kelly used him on some two-point conversions in their preseason game against the Packers and he failed miserably. Barkley hasn’t done much to prove he’s worthy of keeping either, but I still think one of them makes it. So I’m going Tebow at this point, just for the heck of it.

Running Back

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

I didn’t think that Barner actually had a shot at this roster until I saw what he could do on punt returns. He has returned two kicks back for touchdowns, something that’s difficult to do in a whole regular season, much less three preseason games. With the injury histories of Murray and Mathews, it may also help to have an extra guy on the main roster anyway. He’s good enough at returning to probably get snagged by someone else if they cut him, so it’d be dangerous to try to put him on the practice squad. Mostert has looked good, but no chance they keep five RBs.

Wide Receiver

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

A couple of the lower-end wide receivers were released, but there was really no chance that any of the six guys I had in the keep pile were going to change. Bailey probably has the best chance of making the practice squad here. Really, all I want is to see Maehl finally gone. Please Chip, just do it.

Tight End

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

The Ertz injury worries me, and it’s enough to think they’ll add a fourth tight end. I think it’s risky to predict this because it’s taking away from the offensive line depth. However, Tomlinson has looked good enough to at least be suitable as a third tight end if Ertz were to miss a game or two. He’s probably the most likely candidate to be moved down to the practice squad at some point during the season though.

Offensive Line

Keep: Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Andrew Gardner, John Moffitt, David Molk, Matt Tobin,
Cut: Josh Andrews, Brett Boyko, Malcolm Bunche, Dennis KellyJulian Vandervelde

Three offensive linemen didn’t make it past the first round of cuts, and I expect a couple veteran cuts in the second round. Graf was the first vet to get the ax, and a few more should follow. Kelly has never been good and has been sub-par at best this preseason. Vandervelde has fought through what seems like a million injuries throughout his career and is finally healthy, but looks terrible this preseason. So do Moffitt and Tobin, but somebody has to make it on as a backup. I think Tobin has the best chance of making it as a backup (other than Molk, who makes it by default since he’s the only other center), but I could see Vandervelde or Kelly getting switched out for Moffitt. We’ll have to see. It’s definitely the hardest position group to guess at this point.

Defensive End

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

Nothing has changed here. Last time I moved Bair off the roster due to his age and the slight emergence of second-year player Taylor Hart. Mihalik should end up on the practice squad, but there’s just no room for him on the main roster. Hart should take over Bair’s role from last year.

Defensive Tackle

Keep: Bennie Logan, Beau Allen
Cut: Travis Raciti

With only three defensive tackles on the roster, two of them are forced to make it, but Logan and Allen are obvious choices. Raciti has looked pretty bad thus far and might not even be able to crack the practice squad. He’ll really need a good performance Thursday to prove me wrong.

Outside Linebacker

Keep: Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Bryan Braman,
Cut: Diaheem Watkins

This is basically the same group of guys here. Watkins has been nothing special and is probably only still here because Smith is hurt and Barwin and Graham aren’t really going to play in the fourth game. A good performance from him though could earn him a slot on the practice squad.

Inside Linebacker

Keep: Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks DeMeco Ryans, Jordan Hicks, Brad Jones
Cut: Deontae SkinnerNajee Goode

As you might have noticed, I really can’t make up my mind on what position Jones is. I moved him back to the group of inside linebackers because everyone here has injury histories instead of him. Goode has looked pretty terrible, missing six tackles so far (most on the team) according to Pro Football Focus. Jones’ versatility allows them to keep only him and use Goode’s roster spot for someone else. It’s already becoming apparent that they’ll need inside linebacker depth, so the Hicks draft pick is looking smarter.

Cornerback

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

Nothing has changed here either. Biggers has struggled at times and Watkins isn’t anything too special, but there really isn’t anything else at this point. Evans had a nice interception against the Packers, but that’s pretty much it for him. I still expect Rice to sneak on as the sixth cornerback.

Safety

Keep: Malcolm Jenkins, Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Chris Prosinski
Cut: Jerome CouplinEd Reynolds

The Reynolds hype train is already dying down after back-to-back games without an interception. Couplin has actually looked pretty good and has a shot at the practice squad, but I don’t think he’ll move up to the main roster. Prosinski’s special teams value is enough in itself to keep him.

Special Teams

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

I don’t care how many knuckleball field goals Smith makes, he’s not going to make the team. This area remains the same.

Overview

New additions since last prediction: Kenjon Barner, Eric Tomlinson
New subtractions since last prediction: Julian Vandervelde, Najee Goode

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