Philadelphia Eagles' 53-Man Projections Before New York Jets Game
The final Thursday usually signals two things in the NFL. One, it's the final day of the preseason; something a lot of fans are happy about. Two, final cuts are right around the corner.
All 32 teams have made their first wave of cuts down to 75. After tonight, the teams must evaluate their rosters to come up with their regular season roster of 53, as well as the eight players who will make up their practice squad.
Note: This is just based on current players, not potential cuts from other teams.
Quarterbacks: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley
This may be the easiest decision among the positions. G.J. Kinne and Dennis Dixon are likely goners from the roster, though Dixon may end up on the practice squad. It's just hard to see the Eagles keeping four quarterbacks and Barkley has settled in as the third quarterback.
Running Backs: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker
The first surprise comes at the running back position. I can see the Eagles keeping Matthew Tucker as their fourth back. He has run well the past few games and with some of the other bubble players at other positions hard to figure out, there is room on this team for Tucker.
Remember, the Eagles did keep four backs last season, as well.
Another position where the Eagles may add more depth. Russell Shepard has been left for dead, but he hasn't completely disappeared, and saw plenty of action during the Jacksonville game, including on the game-winning drive.
Jeremy Maclin's injury obviously hurts, but it also opened the door for Riley Cooper and Shepard to have to step up. Greg Salas has also quietly put together a strong preseason and can back up Jason Avant in the slot.
Tight Ends: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Clay Harbor
Chip Kelly loves his tight ends and will use them early and often. Clay Harbor is one of the last guys on the roster in this projection, but could stick with all the two-TE formations the Eagles will run.
Offensive Linemen: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Dallas Reynolds, Dennis Kelly, Allen Barbre
Allen Barbre showed to be a very nice backup to Jason Peters when he missed the New England and Carolina games. Dallas Reynolds and Dennis Kelly will be the swing players, as they can play multiple positions. This does mean Danny Watkins is out as well as Michael Bamiro; though Bamiro is almost certain to be placed on the practice squad (assuming another team doesn't sign him).
Defensive Linemen: Cedric Thornton, Isaac Sopoaga, Fletcher Cox, Clifton Geathers, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Damion Square
The top six are pretty much locks and Damion Square seems to be a guy the coaches like. Joe Kruger and David King could both be practice squad players.
This looks like the end of the line for Antonio Dixon as an Eagle.
Linebackers: Connor Barwin, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Jake Knott, Adrian Robinson, Emmanuel Acho, Chris McCoy
Jake Knott made Jamar Cheney expendable with his great play this preseason. He will back up Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans. Adrian Robinson can add special teams value and Emmanuel Acho and Chris McCoy also add depth at outside linebacker.
This does mean Chip Kelly will cut one of his former linebackers at Oregon, Casey Matthews.
Defensive Backs: Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, Cary Williams, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Earl Wolff, Jordan Poyer, Kurt Coleman
Kenny Phillips couldn't stay healthy, leaving even more of a revolving door at safety, which is why Kurt Coleman likely stays. It's likely him, Colt Anderson and David Sims for one spot.
Jordan Poyer has a big opportunity tonight to prove he belongs, as he will get plenty of work.
Specialists: Alex Henery, Jon Dorenbos, Donnie Jones
Again, this could all change in a heartbeat as players get cut between now and Saturday. Players from other teams will likely be an Eagle after this weekend. The flurry is on.
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