Following the NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles now have nearly 90 players on their roster. The team will probably even sign more players before training camp begins, but once the team enters the 2012 regular season, the roster must be trimmed to just 53 players.
Here’s a way-too-early look at the team’s projected 53-man roster.
Michael Vick is in the second season of a six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed following his highly successful 2010 campaign, and Nick Foles is all but a lock to make the team considering the Philadelphia Eagles spent a third-round pick on him in the 2012 draft.
That means Trent Edwards and Mike Kafka are battling for the third quarterback spot. Edwards was signed to a one-year deal once free agency started, even though he spent the majority of 2011 out of football. Kafka was a fourth-round pick back in 2009 and has spent the last two seasons as the third quarterback on the Eagles depth chart. He is an insanely brilliant mind with limited physical skills, but I think he will get the nod over the slow-footed Trent Edwards, whose trademark in Buffalo was to hold the ball until he got sacked.
Expected Depth Chart: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mike Kafka
Current Players: Bryce Brown, Graig Cooper, Stanley Havili (FB), Emil Igwenagu (FB), Dion Lewis, LeSean McCoy, Chris Polk, Jeremy Stewart (FB)
The Philadelphia Eagles really don’t have a set backup running back after LeSean McCoy, and there should be open competition among the other four players. Dion Lewis served as the third back last year, and I see him returning to that role in 2012. Chris Polk was an undrafted free agent, even though some mock drafts had him going as high as 32nd overall several months ago.
Polk has the size, instincts, stamina and versatility to serve as a backup, and he’s also a terrific receiver out of the backfield, so I give him the odds-on favorite chances as being the top backup, and I see Lewis returning with the same role he held last year. Graig Cooper probably won’t make the roster, and Bryce Brown has a ton of potential, but he may be best suited on the practice squad for now. Stanley Havili is the expected fullback barring a surprise signing, but he really won’t play much more than 20 percent of snaps anyway.
Expected Depth Chart: LeSean McCoy, Chris Polk, Dion Lewis, Stanley Havili (FB)
Current Players: Elvis Akpla, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Mardy Gilyard, Chad Hall, Jamel Hamler, DeSean Jackson, McKay Jacobson, Damarius Johnson, Ronald Johnson, Jeremy Maclin, Marvin McNutt, Aaron Pflugrad, Darnell Williams
DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin form one of the best one-two wide receiver combos in the NFL and Jason Avant is a fine slot receiver. Marvin McNutt will likely be the fourth wide receiver, even though he was just a sixth-round pick.
I don’t see Chad Hall making the team again, especially considering he didn’t provide much in the various positions at which he lined up. It will likely be Mardy Gilyard and Riley Cooper fighting for the final spot. Gilyard can return kicks, but Cooper was on the team the last two seasons, and I see the Eagles bringing him back for one more year (even though I don’t think he is worth keeping around).
Expected Depth Chart: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Marvin McNutt, Riley Cooper
Current Players: Brett Brackett, Brent Celek, Chase Ford, Clay Harbor
I’m surprised the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t draft a tight end or add a quality backup to compete with Clay Harbor behind Brent Celek. Harbor hasn’t done much in his two seasons on the team, and at this point, I have to say he will make the team considering Brett Brackett was just an undrafted rookie free agent who bounced from team to team during the 2011 season.
I do think there is a very good chance the Eagles will still sign someone to come in and be a quality backup behind Celek.
Expected Depth Chart: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
Current Players: Demetress Bell, King Dunlap, Mike Gibson, Todd Herremans, D.J. Jones, Jason Kelce, Dennis Kelly, Evan Mathis, Jason Peters, Dallas Reynolds, Zane Taylor, Steve Vallos, Julian Vandervelde, Brandon Washington, Danny Watkins
The Philadelphia Eagles will be heading into next season with the following five players as their starting offensive linemen—Demetress Bell, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans. Jason Peters will be on IR, so he won’t take up a roster spot, and the team re-signed King Dunlap to be a backup offensive tackle.
I think Dennis Kelly will be the other offensive tackle, especially since the team spent a fifth-round pick on him. Brandon Washington, Julian Vandervelde and Mike Gibson will probably be fighting for two backup guard spots, so the loser will either be cut or if it is Washington, spend the season on the practice squad.
D.J. Jones, Dallas Reynolds and Zane Taylor are long shots to make the active roster, barring injuries. Steve Vallos will probably be the backup center behind Kelce.
Expected Depth Chart: Demetress Bell, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, King Dunlap, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde, Steve Vallos (Jason Peters on IR)
Current Players: Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Antonio Dixon, Maurice Fountain, Brandon Graham, Phillip Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Mike Patterson, Darryl Tapp, Cedric Thornton
Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and Trent Cole will make up a more than formidable starting defensive line.
Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri add impressive depth to the interior defensive line, and Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Phillip Hunt and Darryl Tapp do the same for the end position.
Cedric Thornton has an outside chance to make the team, and former UFL player Maurice Fountain probably won’t make it unless there are injuries.
Expected Depth Chart: Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt, Darryl Tapp, Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon, Derek Landri
Current Players: Jamar Chaney, Keenan Clayton, Moise Fokou, Akeem Jordan, Mychal Kendricks, Greg Lloyd, Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle, DeMeco Ryans, Monte Simmons
DeMeco Ryans, Brian Rolle and Mychal Kendricks give the Philadelphia Eagles a much-improved group of linebackers. Jamar Chaney adds depth as the nickel linebacker, and Casey Matthews will probably be back in some sort of a reserve role.
Andy Reid doesn’t believe in keeping a whole lot of linebackers on the team, so the remaining guys might be fighting for one or two spots.
Expected Depth Chart: DeMeco Ryans, Brian Rolle, Mychal Kendricks, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Moise Fokou, Akeem Jordan
Current Players: Nnamdi Asomugha, Brandon Boykin, Joselio Hanson, Cliff Harris, Brandon Hughes, D.J. Johnson, Trevard Lindley, Curtis Marsh, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Phillip Thomas
Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brandon Boykin give the Philadelphia Eagles one of the top trios of cornerbacks in the NFL. Curtis Marsh showed absolutely nothing as a rookie but the team knew they were drafting a project when they made him their third-round selection, so he will be back in 2012.
Trevard Lindley or Brandon Hughes will make up the fifth cornerback spot, and I predict Joselio Hanson gets the veteran cut after a 2011 season in which he really dropped off.
Expected Depth Chart: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes
Current Players: Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Tom Nelson, Phillip Thomas
The Philadelphia Eagles made no move to upgrade the safety position in the offseason, which shows you they may feel Jaiquawn Jarrett is ready to step into a starting role. Nate Allen is now fully healthy from the patellar tendon injury he suffered late in 2010, and Kurt Coleman provides good depth to the safety corps.
Colt Anderson will probably begin the season on the PUP list because of the ACL injury he suffered late in 2011. That means Tom Nelson will make the team, even though he’s a borderline talent.
Expected Depth Chart: Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Tom Nelson (Colt Anderson on PUP)
Current Players: Matt Camilli, Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Ryan Tydlacka
Obviously Alex Henery and Jon Dorenbos are locks to make the team, but Chas Henry may not make it, especially since the Philadelphia Eagles brought in a new punter for competition. Henry showed nothing in his rookie season to make the team want to bring him back, but he probably has another year for now.
Expected Depth Chart: Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Chas Henry