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Philadelphia Eagles: Predicting the 53-Man Roster After Preseason Week 1

Bill RiccetteCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2016

Philadelphia Eagles: Predicting the 53-Man Roster After Preseason Week 1

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    It was quite an interesting showing for the Philadelphia Eagles in their preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first team offense looked sluggish, the first team defense was up and down (with plenty of downs), and it was a quarterback who may not even make the final roster leading the Eagles on a game-winning drive that led to a field goal.

    All in all, there were some positives to look at, and some things that need work.

    That being said, let's use what we saw against Pittsburgh to take a first crack at predicting the final 53-man roster.

Quarterbacks

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    In: Michael Vick, Mike Kafka, Nick Foles

    Vick is a no-brainer. He is the starter until further notice.

    Kafka will still make this roster, despite the injury, and continue to be developed by Reid.

    Foles has had an impressive preseason debut and will make this roster. Andy Reid will do a great job developing him and he very well could be the starter in a few years. Kafka's injury may even give Foles a chance to sneak into the No. 2 QB role.

    Out: Trent Edwards

    He did lead a game-winning drive against the Steelers, but the odds strongly favor the Eagles only keeping three quarterbacks, with Edwards as the odd man out.

Running Backs

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    In: LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown

    McCoy is a top-three overall pick in all fantasy leagues.

    Lewis had a nice game against Pittsburgh, tallying 22 yards on four carries. He ran well, but just needs to lighten up on the dancing. He'll be the backup RB.

    Brown also ran well, and looks to have the edge on Polk for the No. 3 RB spot.

    Out: Chris Polk

    Just like Edwards, Polk isn't having a bad camp, but I just don't see the Eagles keeping four running backs on this roster, and Polk seems to be the odd man out.

Wide Receivers

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    In: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Marvin McNutt, Damaris Johnson

    Jackson and Maclin continue to roll as starters, Avant still lines up in the slot. Cooper is recovering from a broken collarbone, and should be considered questionable at best for the season opener, but will still make the roster.

    Damaris Johnson is currently listed as a fourth-team wide receiver. But what will keep him on the roster is his insane speed, which should help him nail down the punt return job, which he did quite well against Pittsburgh.

    What's also helping Damaris is he has been getting first-team reps while Maclin recovers from a hamstring injury. Johnson even had a reception on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage.

    McNutt is the wild card here. He's been pretty good at camp, and could be some depth insurance for the Eagles. Loved the value they got on him in the late 6th round.

    Out: Chad Hall, Mardy Gilyard, Jamel Hamler, Tiger Jones, Brian Hernandez, Elvis Akpla, McKay Jacobson

    I love the heart of Chad Hall. He never lets his size keep him from mixing it up. Unfortunately, I see him just getting squeezed out. Gilyard and Akpla have had a nice camp, so far. The others are pretty much camps bodies.

Fullback

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    In: Stanley Havili

    After spending last season on the practice squad, Havili moves into the starting fullback role after Owen Schmitt signed with Oakland as a free agent.

    Out: Emil Igwenagu

    Igwenagu is an interesting player, and will be a tough decision for Reid and company. An undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts, Igwenagu can play both fullback and tight end.

    Unfortunately for Igwenagu, the Eagles almost never keep two fullbacks (in fact, almost nobody does), and the Eagles look to be liking Havili more at this point.

Tight Ends

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    In: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor

    I won't be surprised to see the Eagles run some two TE sets with Celek and Harbor. Depth elsewhere is the reason only two tight ends remain.

    Out: Brett Brackett, Chase Ford, Emil Igwenagu

    This is another position where the Eagles have found some good players who have had nice camps, but just fall victim to the cut, as mentioned before, due to having such strong depth at other positions.

Offensive Line

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    In: Demetress Bell, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, King Dunlap, Julian Vandervelde, Dallas Reynolds, Brandon Washington, Dennis Kelly

    Bell may have been demoted to LT2, but I think he still starts the year as LT1, with Dunlap as backup.

    Reynolds can be a swing player, as both guard and center, so I see him backing up Kelce and being able to step in for Mathis or Watkins, if need be. He also got first team reps while Mathis was out with injury.

    Vandervelde has been running with the second team all summer and hasn't shown anything to make the coaches think he can't be a valuable backup. 

    Kelly has gotten first team work while Mathis and Herremans were out.

    Washington beats out Gibson as one of the final cuts.

    Out: DJ Jones, Alfred McCullough, Steve Vallos, Mike Gibson, Thomas Welch

    Mostly camp bodies to being with, other than Gibson, who, as mentioned above, was one of the last players cut.

    PUP: Jason Peters

    Peters ruptured his Achilles' twice and is currently on the NFI/PUP list, and will almost unquestionably start the year on the PUP list, meaning he will miss the first six games.

Defensive Line

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    In: Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Philip Hunt, Mike Patterson, Vinny Curry

    This is the reason tough cuts at other positions had to be made. The depth the Eagles have at defensive line is very, very good. Not many teams can claim that they can go five deep at tackle and end. The Eagles are going to be able to constantly keep fresh bodies on the field.

    Patterson would have to be the one closest to the bubble, but for now, he stays on, barely, despite the uncertainly, and being on the Active/PUP list. Maybe the Eagles feel it's worth the risk and then something clicks during the season.

    Out: Monte Taylor, Cedric Thornton, Ollie Ogbu, Antonio Dixon, Frank Trotter, Darryl Tapp, Xavier Brown

    I really feel for Andy Reid. It is going to be so tough for him to choose which defensive linemen to cut, because there are some good ones on this list, including Dixon, Thornton and Tapp. Thornton looks to be the closest to making the roster, but for now, he is listed as out.

Linebackers

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    In: Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Rolle, Akeem Jordan, Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, Keenan Clayton

    I've loved Kendricks ever since he was drafted, and he is showing us how good he can be. He'll be the starting strong-side linebacker.

    Rolle looks to have the edge on Chaney for weak-side, but both provide good production for this roster. Jordan and Matthews will roll on the second team.

    Clayton is added on special teams as one of the last players in with Peters on PUP.

    Out: Monte Simmons, Ryan Rau, Adrian Moten

    This could always change, especially if one of these guys steps up on special teams. But, as always, depth elsewhere, especially at defensive line, causes the cuts here.

Secondary

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    In: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Kurt Coleman, Nate Allen, Nnamdi Asomugha, Curtis Marsh, OJ Atogwe, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin, Colt Anderson

    You will notice one name not on this list, and that is Jaiquawn Jarrett. By all accounts, he is just struggling all over the place and did not look good against the Steelers. If Anderson is good to go by the start of the season, the Eagles could very well keep him as backup to Coleman, as well as use him on special teams. I am going to guess he will be taken off the PUP list before the season starts, coming off a torn ACL.

    Atogwe looks to be Nate Allen's backup, as well as the veteran leader to help the young guys.

    Marsh has done well in his opportunities with the first team, and should be a reliable No. 3 Cornerback, and Hanson will serve well as No. 4.

    Boykin makes the roster because he looks to be the kick returner.

    Out: Cliff Harris, Phillip Thomas, Wade Bonner, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Tom Nelson, Brandon Hughes, Trevard Lindley, Kevin Thomas

    Harris, Hughes, Lindley and Thomas still have an opportunity to overtake a guy like Hanson or Marsh on the final roster, but right now, they are on the outside looking in. Let's see a bit more from these guys, especially this week against New England.

Special Teams

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    In: Alex Henery, Mat McBriar, Jon Dorenbos

    Henery and Dorenbos are unquestioned starters at kicker and long snapper, respectively.

    McBriar seems like the leader in the clubhouse to punt for the Eagles.

    Out: Chas Henry

    Plain and simple, if McBriar beats Henry, Henry is cut. This team will not keep two punters, and that almost goes without saying.

    Henry still has three games to catch up and pass McBriar, so this is far from over.

    This was not an easy task to cut the roster from 87 to 53. And this is just an opinion. Andy Reid has the extremely difficult task of having to do this for real, starting in about two weeks cutting to 80, then eventually to 53.

    This is just a first run-through, taking into account what we have seen so far. There is still plenty of time for the outside players to sneak their way in, and that starts this Monday night against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

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