Assessing Every Philadelphia Eagles UDFA's Chances of Making Final Roster

Andrew Kulp@@KulpSaysContributor IMay 22, 2014

Assessing Every Philadelphia Eagles UDFA's Chances of Making Final Roster

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    We tend to think the work of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office is finished for the offseason once Round 7 of the NFL draft wraps up. Then the club fills out its 90-man roster with the best remaining players who didn’t hear their names called.

    This year, the Birds signed 15 undrafted free agents to contracts immediately after the draft. Admittedly, most will never sniff the final roster—one has already been released. That being said, there are always a few who make the cut.

    2014 will be no different. Actually, given the current state of the Eagles, we could be looking at as many as four or five UDFAs who have a shot at being left standing after the smoke clears on final cutdown day.

    Naturally, some have better chances than others. Let’s take one last look at this year’s class of UDFAs and attempt to separate the few who might make it from the many who likely won’t.

OG Josh Andrews

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    Of the three UDFA offensive guards the Eagles signed after the draft, Josh Andrews may be the most likely candidate to make the final roster. He has the best body of work anyway.

    A three-year starter at left guard for Oregon State, there aren’t concerns with Andrews as far as learning a new position or the level of competition he faced in college. The fact that he can play center as well could only work in his favor.

    Starting guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans are both in their 30s, and there is little in the way of reliable depth behind them. I’d say not only does Andrews have a good chance at making the roster. It’s likely.

    Makes the team

TE Blake Annen

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    Blake Annen is perhaps the most intriguing of the Eagles’ UDFA signings, largely on the strength of his clocking a blazing 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Cincinnati’s pro day. He’s far from a lock to make the team though.

    While 6’4”, 247 pounds is adequate size to play tight end in the NFL, he may need to bulk up just a bit. He’s also largely unproven as a receiving threat, hauling in just 19 receptions over his collegiate career.

    Annen could clearly benefit from spending a year on the practice squad, using that time to hit the gym and learn the offense. However, the Eagles run the risk he doesn’t clear waivers if they try to stash him on the scout team.

    If Annen has a strong summer or can at least contribute on special teams, he’ll make it extremely difficult to take that gamble.

    Makes the team

OG Karim Barton

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    It’s impossible to say what the Eagles have with Karim Barton, a three-year starter at right tackle for Division I-AA Morgan State. He’s trying out at guard, which means learning a new position while simultaneously adjusting to an even sharper rise in level of competition compared to his peers.

    As mentioned, the Eagles do have serious depth issues along the offensive line’s interior, so Barton will have every opportunity to crack the roster if he can impress coaches. He simply doesn’t possess the pedigree of the other players battling for a spot.

    Practice-squad material

WR Kadron Boone

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    Granted, three of his college teammates heard their names called over draft weekend, including two in the first two rounds. That being said, if Kadron Boone couldn’t crack the starting lineup in four years at LSU, what makes the Eagles think he will be worthy of a roster spot in the NFL?

    It’s not going to get any easier from here. The front office just spent second- and third-round picks on wide receivers, with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper still entrenched as the starters.

    A roster spot for a fifth receiver is still up for grabs, and the club could choose to carry as many six. Boone would really have to set himself apart though, something he’s not done in the past—either that or stand out on special teams.

    Practice-squad material

TE Trey Burton

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    When the Eagles look at Trey Burton, they see an offensive weapon with tremendous versatility. When I look at Burton, I see an athlete without a position.

    Burton lined up all over the place at the University of Florida, from running back to wide receiver to tight end, even some quarterback. He racked up 1,646 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns over four seasons.

    The Eagles are listing Burton as a tight end, but at 6’2”, 224 pounds, he’s way too undersized. He might be better suited in a slot receiver role, only he’s not especially quick either, running the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.14 at the scouting combine according to

    Not surprisingly, Burton also plays special teams, so that helps his chances some. But honestly, I simply am not high on his prospects of finding a niche in an NFL offense.

    Practice-squad material

RB David Fluellen

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    A roster spot may have opened up for a fourth running back after the Eagles traded Bryce Brown to the Buffalo Bills. However, it’s not like David Fluellen will be gunning for the spot unopposed.

    Fluellen is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns at Toledo. His scouting report describes a big back who can punish opponents between the tackles. He’ll even catch a few passes out of the backfield.

    There just doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about him. He sounds like another Chris Polk minus the stellar special teams play. My guess is the coaching staff will prefer somebody a bit more dynamic if it's going to the trouble to carry four backs.

    Released in final cutdowns

RT Kevin Graf

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    Guard isn’t the only area on the offensive line where depth is a sore spot. Aside from Allen Barbre, the Eagles don’t really have anybody proven on the bench.

    Kevin Graf’s scouting report indicates the USC product projects as a right tackle only at the next level. That means he’s going to have to demonstrate he can be an especially solid backup there in order to warrant a roster spot.

    It seems like the current coaching staff wants competition for Dennis Kelly, a 2011 fifth-round pick under the previous regime. Kelly was on the roster all last year but did not dress for a single game. That being said, Kelly also has NFL experience at guard, so Graf may need a strong summer to unseat him regardless.

    Released in final cutdowns

OG Donald Hawkins

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    The third and final UDFA signed to compete at guard, Donald Hawkins will undergo a position change as well. The second-team All-Big 12 right tackle out of the University of Texas is a tad undersized to play on the outside at the next level, so the Eagles will kick his tires on the interior.

    I’m a fan of the move in principle. A two-year starter, Hawkins was among the better linemen in one of the better programs and conferences in college football, so if he can make the transition to guard, the Birds may have something here.

    It’s just hard to say right now though. Josh Andrews still holds the inside track for a roster spot based on his experience.

    Practice-squad material

RB Henry Josey

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    If the Eagles are looking for a different option in their backfield behind LeSean McCoy, Henry Josey very well might be their man. The Missouri product has home run potential, leading the nation with a whopping 8.1 yards per carry in 2011.

    A knee injury wiped out Josey’s ’12 campaign, but he came back to rush for 1,000 yards for the second time in his collegiate career. He wound up leaving school early but finished with an impressive 2,771 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground.

    Josey needs work in pass protection and didn’t catch many passes out of the backfield for the Tigers. He also doesn’t seem to be built for special teams. Then again, with Polk pitching in on the third unit, the Eagles could perhaps afford to keep a roster spot open for a potential home run hitter.

    Makes the team

NT Wade Keliikipi

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    The Eagles seem to feel they have found their nose tackle in Bennie Logan, although depth was still a concern here. The team used a seventh-round pick on Beau Allen in an effort to replace backup Damion Square, but that’s not all.

    To further the competition along the defensive line, another former Chip Kelly disciple out of Oregon was added in the form of Wade Keliikipi. Then again, whether Keliikipi will be a better option as a rookie than Square in Year 2—let alone Allen or especially Logan—remains to be seen.

    Released in final cutdowns

S Daytawion Lowe

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    Even as far as UDFA signings go, the addition of Daytawion Lowe might be somewhat underrated. That could be perhaps because there appears to be a bit of a logjam at safety all of a sudden.

    Malcolm Jenkins was signed to a free-agent contract over the summer. Nate Allen and Earl Wolff will compete for the other starting job. Ed Reynolds was selected in the fifth round of this year’s draft, and Chris Maragos holds a roster spot for his special teams prowess.

    That being said, if Allen were to lose the camp competition to Wolff, his roster spot might be open. Lowe was an incredibly active safety who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior. Like Blake Annen, I’m not sure he’ll clear waivers to make it to the practice squad, but the Eagles will certainly try.

    Practice-squad material

DE Frances Mays

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    The main thing to know about Frances Mays is he’s 6’9”, 291 pounds, which is not irrelevant. However, that’s where the impressive attributes end.

    Mays recorded just 4.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a senior for Division I-AA Florida A&M. If a massive man of that size can’t dominate at that low level, why should we expect the light bulb to suddenly turn on in the NFL?

    It’s not that I’m opposed to the Eagles bringing in giant players for tryouts, which has become something of a calling card under head coach Chip Kelly. Be real though. This guy almost certainly isn’t making the team.

    Released in final cutdowns

WR Quron Pratt

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    As previously mentioned, there may be a fifth or even sixth spot at wide receiver open for competition. Then again, it’s not necessarily going to the best receiving option.

    That’s where Quron Pratt comes in. Pratt’s offensive numbers at Rutgers were mild to put it kindly—87 career receptions, 1,087 yards and just one receiving touchdown in four seasons. Let’s face it, he’s not much of a prospect in that regard.

    Where he does shine is on special teams. In his senior year alone, Pratt recorded both a kick return for a touchdown and a blocked punt. If he shows the capability to make those kinds of plays this summer, he could stick.

    Still, Brad Smith is an excellent special teams contributor himself who can also play a versatile role in the offense.

    Practice-squad material

K Carey Spear

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    I’m prepared to go on record right now as saying Carey Spear defeating Alex Henery in a kicking competition is a stone-cold lock—barring injury of course.

    Henery is mediocre in every phase of the game. His less than ideal leg strength is an issue on both field goals and especially kickoffs. He hasn’t exactly made up for it with stellar accuracy on field-goal attempts either.

    Spear posted a far higher touchback percentage as a senior at Vanderbilt (64.6 percent) than Henery did in his third NFL season (41.1 percent). And while Henery was more accurate on three-point tries, it’s difficult to compare the two because the hash marks are wider in college.

    At least Spear can presumably attempt a 50-yarder. We’ll find out how he performs on a big stage, but quite frankly, it would be very difficult to find a worse option than Henery at this point.

    Makes the team