Not every player can make an NFL team's 53-man roster.
The Philadelphia Eagles had to store some good players on the practice squad this summer, but could still potentially find more use for these prospects if they continue to show promise or if an injury were to occur on the main roster.
One should not underestimate practice squad players. They are important to team depth and many have the potential to contribute and even start on other NFL teams.
Here is an analysis of every member of the 2012 Eagles practice squad.
Chase Beeler was the center for Andrew Luck at Stanford before he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.
Beeler failed to make the team's 53-man roster and was signed to the 49ers practice squad. This year, he was waived and signed by the Eagles to their practice squad.
Beeler is a player worth keeping on the shelf. He has had the unique experience in college of protecting Andrew Luck and opening up holes for RB Toby Gerhart.
While he is not yet starter-caliber, he could potentially serve as a useful backup in the future, especially as he is small and agile and fits the style Howard Mudd likes to use.
B.J. Cunningham was released by the Miami Dolphins during their final roster cuts and was picked up by the Eagles for their practice squad.
This was a very good pickup by the Eagles.
Cunningham is Michigan State University's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He has great body control and very good hands. At 6'1", he also has good size and could someday develop into a good possession receiver.
Chase Ford is a big target, standing 6'6", and showed impressive pass-catching abilities in training camp. He also had a decent showing during the preseason, catching six balls for 54 yards.
Unfortunately for him, Clay Harbor also played well. Therefore, with Brent Celek cemented as the starter, there simply was not much room for Ford on the roster.
However, he is a young tight end with a great deal of promise and is worth keeping around.
Emil Igwenagu was not able to beat out Stanley Havili for the starting fullback job, but the Eagles still have not had a proven solution at fullback since Leonard Weaver's career-ending injury in 2010.
Therefore, it only seems prudent to keep a fullback on the shelf in case the team might possibly need him.
Igwenagu is also a very versatile player, as he spent part of training camp playing the tight end position. That, combined with his toughness, make him a player worth retaining.
Marvin McNutt was drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round, but he failed to make much of an impact in the preseason, which was especially disappointing since the injury to Riley Cooper gave McNutt additional opportunities to shine.
Standing 6'4" and 216 pounds, McNutt was the biggest wide receiver at camp. The Eagles had high hopes for him at one point and have retained him on the practice squad probably because of his size and potential.
He could possibly contribute someday as a red-zone receiver due to his size and leaping ability.
Ryan Rau was unable to make the team because the Eagles are set at middle linebacker, for the most part, with DeMeco Ryans and Casey Matthews on the roster.
However, Rau has shown much potential.
Rau had a strong performance in the preseason—so much so that the Eagles chose to play him with the second-team defense when Casey Matthews went down with an injury.
A player such as Rau is definitely worth keeping around since the linebacker corps in Philadelphia, while drastically improved, cannot yet be considered a team strength.
Matt Reynolds is a player worth keeping for depth along the offensive line, but he is a player with many question marks.
While Reynolds is a very smart player who works very hard, he lacks the ideal athleticism and length of NFL tackles.
He may have a future in the NFL if he can be converted to offensive guard. However, having completed a two-year LDS church mission in Germany, Reynolds is already 26 years old.
Due to his age, any upside that Reynolds has is negated to some extent.
The Eagles have a tremendous amount of talent on the defensive line, but Trotter is a good player to keep nonetheless.
Trotter was an excellent player in college, racking up 36.5 tackles for loss at Memphis. The Eagles simply had too much D-line depth, so Trotter will find himself hard-pressed to find an opportunity.
However, he is a young player who shows promise.