The Philadelphia Eagles are still two weeks away from playing their first regular-season game of the 2012 NFL season, which gives the team time still to whittle their roster down to the required 53 players.
The Eagles have made one round of cuts already, getting rid of 10 players to go from 90 to 80, plus another surprise cut earlier this morning when the team cut ties with Cliff Harris to get the roster down to 79 players.
That means the Eagles have 14 days to cut approximately one-third of the players still on the roster. It’s no certainty as to who will make it and who won’t, but here is one fan’s opinion on which players will survive the final roster cuts.
Who knows if Michael Vick will even still be on the team when the 2013 season rolls around?
But as of now, he’s the starting quarterback in Week 1, and rookie third-round draft pick Nick Foles has likely earned the top backup spot, which will likely give him playing time immediately, considering Vick has started all 16 games in a season just once in his career.
Mike Kafka was the odds-on favorite to win the backup job, as he’s already spent two seasons in an Eagles uniform and knows the playbook and the West Coast offense extremely well.
But he broke his hand in the first preseason contest and that has given Foles an opportunity to showcase his skills, as well as sixth-year NFL veteran Trent Edwards, who was initially seen as a long shot to make the team.
Expected Depth Chart: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards
LeSean McCoy is a Pro Bowler and arguably the best all-around running back in the league, but the depth behind him is thin. Second-year player Dion Lewis has the backup job all but locked up.
That leaves Bryce Brown and Chris Polk fighting for the third and fourth spots, if the Eagles do decide to keep four running backs. There’s also fullback Emil Igwenagu competing against Stanley Havili for the fullback position, should the Eagles even decide to keep a fullback.
Expected Depth Chart: LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Stanley Havili
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant give the Philadelphia Eagles a terrific 1-2-3 punch of wide receivers. After that, though, the spots are up for grabs.
Marvin McNutt was drafted in the sixth round to fight for a spot on the team, but he hasn’t impressed thus far in camp. Riley Cooper has been on the team for two seasons, but he broke his collarbone in camp and he was probably fighting for a spot anyway.
Undrafted rookie free agent Damaris Johnson has been the unsung star of camp thus far, and he has a good chance to make the team.
Other candidates include Chad Hall, the fifth receiver from 2011, along with Mardy Gilyard and Jamel Hamler.
Expected Depth Chart: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Marvin McNutt, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson
The Philadelphia Eagles spent all of 2011 with just two tight ends—Brent Celek and former fourth-round pick Clay Harbor. Celek is a borderline Pro Bowl player who is competent in all aspects of the game, while Harbor hasn’t shown too much in his two seasons with the team.
Brett Brackett and Chase Ford are the two players fighting for the third tight end spot on the team, if the Eagles even decide to go with three tight ends.
Expected Depth Chart: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
The Philadelphia Eagles had their starting offensive line set until Jason Peters suffered a torn Achilles tendon in late March. This prompted the Eagles to sign Demetress Bell from the Buffalo Bills, although Bell has since lost his starting job, which has been given to King Dunlap.
From left to right, the line looks like it will be Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans. Julian Vandervelde is the odds-on favorite to win the backup center spot, and he’s helped because he can also play guard.
Fifth-round pick Dennis Kelly has the edge on the competition over D.J. Jones for one of the backup tackle spots, and it will likely be between guards Mike Gibson and Brandon Washington for the final backup guard spot.
Part of me thinks Bell won’t make the team since the Eagles are paying him to be the starter, and if he’s not going to start, he’s certainly not worth his contract. Then again, he’s only making $1.15 million in base salary in 2012, and that’s not a bad price to pay a backup.
Expected Depth Chart: King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Dennis Kelly, Demetress Bell, Brandon Washington, Julian Vandervelde
The Philadelphia Eagles have the NFL’s best defensive line in 2012, and it’s going to win a lot of football games for the team. Trent Cole and Jason Babin give the Eagles a tremendous group of starting defensive ends, while the depth with Brandon Graham, Phillip Hunt, Vinny Curry and Darryl Tapp is stout.
Meanwhile, the interior defensive line is filled by Cullen Jenkins and Derek Landri—with former first-round pick Mike Patterson still recovering from offseason brain surgery. This year’s first-round pick, Fletcher Cox, is ready to make an immediate impact, and Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton can provide strong depth.
Expected Depth Chart: Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Phillip Hunt, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton
The Philadelphia Eagles made two major improvements this offseason, trading for two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans and drafting rookie Mychal Kendricks in the second round.
Andy Reid has just announced veteran linebacker Akeem Jordan will be the starter at the weak-side spot over last year’s starter, Brian Rolle. The team traded away Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd, Jr. to the Indianapolis Colts, which leaves Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews and Keenan Clayton as the likely backups.
Expected Depth Chart: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Akeem Jordan, Jamar Chaney, Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews, Keenan Clayton
The Philadelphia Eagles need much better production from this positional group, but the talent is there with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Add in Brandon Boykin as the backup in the slot and last year’s third-round pick, Curtis Marsh, and the Eagles have good depth. Veteran Joselio Hanson is fighting for a spot, along with Brandon Hughes and Trevard Lindley.
Expected Depth Chart: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes
This is a unit from which the Philadelphia Eagles really need more production in 2012. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman emerge as starters with Oshiomongo Atogwe and Jaiquawn Jarrett as the likely backups.
For quite some time, it looked as if the Eagles might cut second-year player Jarrett, but when they released Tom Nelson, it seemed like they were committed to keeping with Jarrett.
Expected Depth Chart: Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Oshiomongo Atogwe, Jaiquawn Jarrett
Alex Henery is the kicker heading into 2012, with former Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar competing with last year’s rookie flop Chas Henry for the punter spot. And no one but Jon Dorenbos—one of the best players at his position in the game—will be handling the long snapping.
Expected Depth Chart: Alex Henery, Mat McBriar, Jon Dorenbos