Predicting Philadelphia Eagles' Depth Chart, Post OTAs
Kelly has yet to name a starting quarterback, citing an open competition between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Only some of the positions are locks—LeSean McCoy is a lock (barring injury) of being the starting running back, and no one will supplant DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks as inside linebackers in the new 3-4 defense.
But after that, anyone could start at almost any position.
Organized team activities are no time to cement a depth chart in stone, so here’s a predicted depth chart of Kelly’s Birds as of now. This will include over 53 players, since cuts have not yet been made.
Until otherwise said, Michael Vick has to be the starter on this depth chart.
Vick and Nick Foles have split reps all throughout organized team activities, and Chip Kelly has said they’re in a dead tie.
Vick took over the starting job for the Philadelphia Eagles midway through the 2010 season and has started (when healthy) ever since. Foles made six starts down the stretch in ’12, posting solid numbers despite winning just one start.
It’s highly doubtful fourth-round rookie Matt Barkley enters the mix to be the starter, so it appears to be between Vick and Foles. Vick has a $3.5 million bonus, and that may make him the odds-on favorite to be the opening-day starter. It’s likely Vick enters the season as the starter and Foles takes over when Vick gets injured.
Depth Chart: Michael Vick (1), Nick Foles (2), Matt Barkley (3), Dennis Dixon (4), G.J. Kinne (5)
A five-year, $45 million contract assures LeSean McCoy will be the starting running back entering 2013. That, and the fact that he’s an elite talent as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield.
Behind McCoy, Bryce Brown seems to be the lead backup, barring a surprise from former first-round pick Felix Jones. Jones is in the mix for that spot, but Brown’s impressive play early on in 2012 should give him the edge.
Last year’s undrafted rookie, Chris Polk, remains the fourth running back, although he hasn’t done much to warrant a spot. He will probably make it simply because it’s doubtful Matthew Tucker beats him out. For what it’s worth, Emil Igwenagu is the fullback, but that’s only because James Casey is listed as a tight end.
Depth Chart: LeSean McCoy (1), Bryce Brown (2), Felix Jones (3), Chris Polk (4), Matthew Tucker (5)
Sal Paolantonio was on 97.5 The Fanatic talking with Mike Missanelli, and mentioned that Jackson may see his snaps diminish this season. Paolantonio said Chip Kelly’s no-huddle, no-substitution, hurry-up offense is predicated around highly versatile players who can do a variety of things on the field.
Jackson’s small stature leaves him unable to do much in the form of an offense built around tight ends. For now, Jackson remains the No. 1 receiver, even though he would be best utilized in the slot with two bigger receivers on the outside.
Jeremy Maclin will undoubtedly be the second receiver entering 2013, and he should be primed for big numbers given that it is a contract year. Jason Avant has the temporary edge on Arrelious Benn for the slot receiver spot, seeing as Avant has held down the role for a handful of seasons already. Damaris Johnson will push for playing time in the slot role, though.
The interesting battles will be the final spots, which will be among veterans like Riley Cooper, Nick Miller, and Greg Salas, against undrafted rookies like Russell Shepard and Ifeanyi Momah.
Depth Chart: DeSean Jackson (1), Jeremy Maclin (2), Jason Avant (3), Arrelious Benn (4), Damaris Johnson (5), Riley Cooper (6), Greg Salas (7), Russell Shepard (8), Ifeanyi Momah (9), Nick Miller (10), B.J. Cunningham (11), Will Murphy (12)
Brent Celek holds down the official No. 1 tight end spot, but expect Chip Kelly to run an assortment of two- and three-tight end sets. This is a guy who signed James Casey from the Houston Texans and drafted Stanford’s Zach Ertz in the second round for this sole purpose.
Kelly has said he is a big fan of three-tight end sets, and he has no problem keeping four tight ends on the roster. That means Clay Harbor will probably make the team, although his playing time will diminish with the addition of the highly talented Ertz and the highly versatile Casey.
Derek Carrier and Will Shaw are merely camp bodies.
Depth Chart: Brent Celek (1), Zach Ertz (2), James Casey (3), Clay Harbor (4), Derek Carrier (5), Will Shaw (6)
The offensive line appears to be set for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, and Todd Herremans return as starters, although Herremans will slide inside to right guard. This will allow the team to accommodate new first-round pick Lane Johnson, an extremely talented offensive tackle who will play on the right side.
Kelly, Dallas Reynolds and Danny Watkins have the top backup spots, with the rest of the positions up for grabs.
Depth Chart: Jason Peters (LT 1), Evan Mathis (LG 1), Jason Kelce (C 1), Todd Herremans (RG 1), Lane Johnson (RT 1); Allen Barbre (LT 2), Nate Menkin (LG 2), Dallas Reynolds (C 2), Danny Watkins (RG 2), Dennis Kelly (RT 2); Matt Kopa (LT 3), Julian Vandervelde (LG 3), Matt Tennant (C 3), Matt Tobin (RG 3), Matt Kopa (RT 3), Nic Purcell, Ed Wang
The switch to the 3-4 defense changes up the defensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have transitioned to outside linebacker, and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga was brought over to solidify the middle of the line.
Third-round rookie Bennie Logan has the size and talent to line up at both 5-technique end, defensive tackle in a 4-3 Under and even nose tackle. Cedric Thornton and Vinny Curry will battle it out for the other 3-4 end spot opposite last year’s first-round rookie, Fletcher Cox.
Other players in the mix include Clifton Geathers, rookie seventh-round picks Joe Kruger and Dave King, and veteran Antonio Dixon. Undrafted rookie Damion Square could be a surprise addition to the official 53-man roster.
Depth Chart: Fletcher Cox (DE 1), Isaac Sopoaga (NT 1), Cedric Thornton (DE 1); Vinny Curry (DE 2), Bennie Logan (NT 2), Clifton Geathers (DE 2); Joe Kruger (DE 3), Antonio Dixon (NT 3), Dave King (DE 3); Damion Square, Daryell Walker, Isaac Remington
As mentioned, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will assume the 3-4 pass-rushing linebacker spots, with free-agent acquisition Connor Barwin in the mix. That pushes last year’s second-round pick Mychal Kendricks to the inside, but Kendricks has experience playing in a 3-4 from his college days at the University of California.
DeMeco Ryans was a poor transition to a 3-4 on the Houston Texans, but he remains entrenched as a starter at an inside linebacker spot.
Competing for the backup spots are veterans Jamar Chaney, Phillip Hunt and Casey Matthews, each of whom has already spent several years in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform. Players like Jason Phillips and Emmanuel Acho are hoping to sneak their way onto the team’s 53-man roster.
Depth Chart: Trent Cole (OLB 1), DeMeco Ryans (ILB 1), Mychal Kendricks (ILB 1), Connor Barwin (OLB 1); Brandon Graham (OLB 2), Jamar Chaney (ILB 2), Casey Matthews (ILB 2), Phillip Hunt (OLB 2); Emmanuel Acho (OLB 3), Jason Phillips (ILB 3), Jake Knott (ILB 3), Everette Brown (OLB 3); Chris McCoy
Cary Williams certainly hasn’t helped his case thus far during OTAs. He’s missed his fair share of practices, although he did skip the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl visit to the White House to attend a practice.
Still, Williams and Bradley Fletcher are the starters to replace last year’s disappointments, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Brandon Boykin grabbed the nickel corner spot early in his rookie season, and he will hold onto that role heading into 2013.
Seventh-round rookie Jordan Poyer will provide competition with Boykin for the nickel spot. Veterans Trevard Lindley, Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh are probably fighting for one final cornerback spot.
Depth Chart: Cary Williams (1A), Bradley Fletcher (1B); Brandon Boykin (2A), Jordan Poyer (2B); Curtis Marsh (3A), Brandon Hughes (3B); Trevard Lindley
Last year’s starting safeties, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, were half of a defensive backfield that surrendered a franchise-record 33 touchdowns through the air. That’s why the safety competition will be one of the more intriguing battles to watch.
Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung were brought over via free agency. Each is a former high draft pick who has played in a Super Bowl, although both have struggled to stay healthy throughout their NFL career. Phillips’ knee has already been bothering him, which doesn’t bode well for a player who has already missed 23 games in the past four seasons and has no guaranteed money in his contract.
Behind Phillips and Chung is fifth-round rookie Earl Wolff, who could be a surprise playmaker in the secondary. Wolff will compete with last year’s starters for playing time. Colt Anderson doesn’t provide much impact as a safety, but he’s a fabulous special teams player.
Depth Chart: Kenny Phillips (1A), Patrick Chung (1B); Nate Allen (2A), Earl Wolff (2B); Colt Anderson (3A), Kurt Coleman (3B); David Sims, Eddie Whitley
Alex Henery has the kicking job locked up, considering there’s no real competition. The punter battle could be interesting, as it puts veteran All-Pro Donnie Jones against LSU standout rookie Brad Wing.
Returning kicks and punts could be anyone from Jeremy Maclin to DeSean Jackson to Brandon Boykin to Bryce Brown to Damaris Johnson or even Russell Shepard. The long snapper will be Jon Dorenbos, who is a top player in the business at his position.
Depth Chart: Alex Henery (K), Donnie Jones (P), Brandon Boykin (KR), Damaris Johnson (PR), Jon Dorenbos (LS)