It’s been three months since I made my last Eagles roster prediction, so it’s about time I updated it. They’re more than halfway through the preseason with their fourth game coming up in a couple days. Here is a position-by-position breakdown of who I think will make the team and who won’t:
In: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz
Out: McLeod Bethel-Thompson
This is the same at last time and it’ll always remain this way, unless one of the top three guys suffers a season-ending injury. Bethel-Thompson was always just a camp arm and should be released with the final cuts.
In: Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner
Out: Byron Marshall, Cedric O’Neal
I added Barner to the roster this time because of his special teams ability, but also because he’s actually done pretty well running the football in preseason. With injury problems for both Mathews and Smallwood (who has barely played in the preseason so far because of injuries), keeping around a fourth running back seems like a necessity for this team. The team just recently re-signed O’Neal, who should get some reps on Thursday against the Jets, but he hasn’t stood out enough to even be over Marshall in the depth chart.
In: Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner
Out: Marcus Johnson, Cayleb Jones, David Watford
This is a tough group because essentially the only player who’s stood out (Turner) to any degree this preseason is going to have a tough time of even making the team. I do think he’ll make it because of the cuts to both Chris Givens and Rueben Randle, something I didn’t expect to happen at least in the first round of cuts. Green-Beckham should make the team by default because of the recent trade. I also added Huff onto the roster this time because of sheer lack of numbers at the position. He looked a little better on Saturday, but the Colts’ defense is so terrible that I don’t put too much weight in it.
In: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Chris Pantale
Out: M.J. McFarland
This is the same four guys as last time and seems like a pretty good bet to come true. Burton and Pantale will fill in at fullback to some degree, depending on how much they decide to actually use that position. McFarland has no shot. The fifth tight end in May was actually Dillon Gordon, who’s listed with the offensive line now.
In: Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski, Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Josh Andrews
Out: Andrew Gardner, Barrett Jones, Darrell Greene, Dillon Gordon
Gordon isn’t going to make the team at guard either. This is essentially the same group I had three months ago, except I switched Andrews in to be the backup center after Andrew Gardner was released, who was sub-par in preseason with the third team. The Dennis Kelly trade means Tobin should be a lock for the team, but I don’t think it makes any room for any of the other backups to slide on, as nine offensive linemen should be enough. I didn’t include Lane Johnson here because if he starts the season suspended, he won’t count on the 53-man roster. However, this process seems to be taking forever, so I guess hypothetically they might have to keep him on it originally.
In: Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Steven Means, Bryan Braman
Out: Marcus Smith, Jake Metz
The battle for the fourth defensive end is going to be interesting, although I think at the moment Means has the edge over Smith, who although he had a solid outing at the end of the Pittsburgh game, has continued to disappoint. Getting a sack while completely unblocked against third-stringers doesn’t really cement you as a roster-worthy player. Still, I feel the least sure about picking Means over Smith than any other prediction just because that’s taking a UDFA over a former first-round pick. Braman will make the team because of special teams, and Metz, who was just signed from the Philadelphia Soul, will likely be left off.
In: Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart
Out: Aziz Shittu, Destiny Vaeao
Surprisingly, Mike Martin, who for some reason was listed with the defensive ends in my May predictions, was released in the first round of cuts. I’m guessing the injury problems he’s dealt with all preseason was the biggest factor, even though he was getting first-team reps back in OTAs. Hart will probably have to make it instead of Martin after a solid preseason, even though I still don’t think he’s a great fit for the 4-3. The other two guys have a slight chance of making the practice squad, but barring serious injuries to guys above them, they’re long-shots.
In: Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Nigel Bradham, Najee Goode, Stephen Tulloch, Don Cherry
Out: Quentin Gause, Myke Tavarres
This group is scary, and I’m not talking about in a good way. The depth is quite weak, and with serious injury concerns to Kendricks especially, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Goode in the game a lot. Signing Tulloch should help with this depth for sure, but he’s definitely not the player he used to be. Don Cherry could also make the team mainly because there just isn’t much else to choose from with Joe Walker tearing his ACL, but I could see any of the UDFAs making it if one stands out.
In: Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, Jalen Mills, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, C.J. Smith
Out: JaCorey Shepherd
This group is easily way better than a few years ago when Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams were the top two guys. The depth is much improved and will require them to make a tough decision as to who to start and who to keep. Carroll seems like the best guy of the group and will probably start on the outside with McKelvin, with Brooks in the slot, but that could obviously change. I thought Denzel Rice would make it as the sixth guy because of his special teams ability, but he was, to at least a little surprise, released already. And with Aaron Grymes being waived/injured, I think Smith picks up that sixth spot for now. Thursday’s game should be a battle for the last spot.
In: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Jaylen Watkins
Out: Ed Reynolds, Blake Countess
Watkins and Mills switched positions since May, but I still think they both make the team. Watkins has impressed in the preseason and has been praised by the coaches recently. Countess has shown flashes and Reynolds is improved from when the Eagles first drafted him, but I don’t think either is good enough to make the final team. Maragos will once again be the special teams ace.
In: Caleb Sturgis, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
Out: Cody Parkey
I made the switch at kicker despite Sturgis (somehow) suffering a concussion before the Steelers game after getting hit in the head with a punt. Yeah. Either way, he’s definitely been better than Parkey, and unless he gets hurt again, he should be the guy come final cuts. Jones will make the team by default after his competition was cut a while ago.
In: Kenjon Barner, Dorial Green-Beckham, Josh Huff, Josh Andrews, Steven Means, Taylor Hart, Don Cherry, Stephen Tulloch, C.J. Smith, Caleb Sturgis
Out: David Watford, T.J. Graham, Rueben Randle, Chris Givens, M.J. McFarland, Andrew Gardner, Jake Metz, Travis Long, Deontae Skinner, Myke Tavarres, JaCorey Shepherd, Nick Perry, Cody Parkey
Note: This list includes guys who weren’t on the team at all in May when I made my last prediction, but who I still don’t think will make the team. It also includes guys who I had making the team in May but aren’t on the team anymore.
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