The preseason has finally come to an end. Man, those last two games were painful. Luckily, talking about who will make the 53-man roster is much more fun.
Here’s my final prediction for the Eagles main roster ahead of Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline to cut down to 53 players. If you’d like to compare, my roster prediction from August 22 can be viewed here.
In: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
Out: Joe Callahan
Extremely out: Christian Hackenberg
My goodness, Hackenberg is absolutely horrible. He is worse than I even remembered. On a more serious note, I don’t expect Wentz to suit up for Week 1, making it increasingly likely that they keep Sudfeld on the main roster, at least for now. I’d like to see Sudfeld continue to develop so he can be a potential replacement for Foles after 2018.
In: Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood
Out: Josh Adams, Matt Jones, Donnell Pumphrey
Smallwood moves into my roster this time after having a strong Week 3 game against the Browns. He also didn’t play Thursday against the Jets while Adams played a ton, suggesting Smallwood could be higher than him in the depth chart. I think it’s more likely that they put Adams on the practice squad. Pumphrey finally got some game action against the Jets, but other than a few easy catches in the flat, he didn’t impress much. He seems like more of a longshot to make the team than Adams or Smallwood. Jones scored the team’s only touchdown in the past two games, and he’s still the most obvious cut in this group.
In: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, DeAndre Carter
Out: Greg Ward, Markus Wheaton, Kamar Aiken, Bryce Treggs, Darius Prince, Rashard Davis, Tim Wilson
Carter is in, and Ward is out. I’ve been impressed with Carter’s ability these past two games, and his ability to play special teams should certainly help his case. Jeffery was declared out for at least Week 1, so having a sixth WR who is healthy is imperative because he might have to be active to start the season. Holding onto an injury-ridden veteran like Wheaton, Aiken, or Treggs still doesn’t make as much sense to me right now considering the injury issues for the guys that will make the team.
In: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers
Out: Gannon Sinclair, Billy Brown, Josh Perkins
Same grous I had last time. Even with Rodgers banged up, I didn’t see enough from Brown to warrant putting him on the main roster. I see him as a practice squad player, though. The tandem of Ertz and Goedert should be awesome.
In: Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack, Jordan Mailata
Out: Jon Toth, Toby Weathersby, Aaron Evans, Matt Pryor, Darrell Greene, Taylor Hart
I took a lot of heat on Twitter at halftime of the Jets game for saying the Eagles should put Mailata on the practice squad. I specifically focused on him in the second half and was impressed (of course taking into account that he was blocking backups on a bad team). I read more about him and it seems like others are extremely impressed with him as well, so I’ve changed my mind on him. I don’t love the idea of keeping Warmack, but I feel like he’ll make it by default because he’s a veteran. If he doesn’t I could see Pryor sneaking in ahead of him. Greene is off this version of my prediction after doing nothing noteworthy these past two games. Some people think the Eagles could keep 10 lineman here, but I have no idea what other position group I’d trim to account for that, so I’m sticking with nine guys here.
In: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Steven Means, Josh Sweat
Out: Danny Ezechukwu, Joe Ostman
What’s that? Eagles legend Steven Means had three sacks against the Jets? Other than him being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, I was impressed with Sweat again versus the Jets. This group remains the same as last week. I’d be sad of course, but if they wanted to only keep five here, they could try to trade Means. He absolutely would have trade value.
In: Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector
Out: Elijah Qualls, Winston Craig, Aziz Shittu
It’s really a toss-up between Hector and Qualls here, but I swapped them this time. Hector looked really solid in these past two games. and the team seems to like him a lot. I could see it going either way, though. When (if?) Jernigan returns this season, it will be a tough decision as to what to do.
In: Jordan Hicks, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker, Nate Gerry, LaRoy Reynolds
Out: Kyle Wilson, Asantay Brown, Jaboree Williams
I had Corey Nelson on my last roster prediction, but his subsequent release means Reynolds should make this team for now. It’s going to be a fluid position group, though, because Nigel Bradham will be activated after his one-game suspension. I suspect Reynolds could be out of a job once that happens, unless they decide to stick with six linebackers and cut someone from a different position. By the way, Reynolds had an awesome hit against the Jets that got penalized. Penalty or not, the guy jacked him up.
In: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, De’Vante Bausby
Out: Chandon Sullivan, D.J. Killings
This position group is the last as last time. Bausby has been quieter in the preseason than I hoped, but if the team really wants to keep six cornerbacks, I think those are the six guys. I didn’t see enough from Sullivan or Killings to warrant putting either of them on the main roster. I wonder if when Bradham returns they’d consider sliding Bausby onto the practice squad instead of cutting a linebacker. Not likely, but something to consider.
In: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan
Out: Jeremy Reaves, Ironhead Gallon
Personally, Gallon should make the team automatically because of his name. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Eagles agree, so I put him in the cut list. I am less confident Chris Maragos will be ready for Week 1, so for now I’m putting him on the PUP list. Sullivan jumps onto the roster for him, although I was also impressed at times with how Reaves looked, especially in the Jets game. I think Sullivan definitely has the edge for now, though.
In: Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
Same old, same old.
In: Nigel Bradham, Chris Maragos, Timmy Jernigan
I’ve already kind of talked about all these guys, but basically, Bradham will re-join the roster after his suspension ends and will count against the roster. If Maragos remains on the PUP and Jernigan on the NFI at the time the roster is cut down Saturday, they’ll be forced to miss the first six games of the season. This is pretty much guaranteed for Jernigan, but I’d really rather see Maragos be activated off this list for his special teams ability. The Eagles and Maragos agreed to a reworked contract this week that essentially gave him a slight raise for 2018 in exchange for slashing the 2019 season off his contract, so I wonder if they think his injury is worse long-term than they originally thought. He’s also getting old, so that could be a factor too.