Projecting the Eagles' 53-Man Roster
Saturday afternoon is the deadline for NFL teams to get down to the 53-man roster limit. As of Thursday, there were still 75 players on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, with the game against the Jets the last chance for nearly two dozen players to make an impression on Andy Reid.
Now that the game is over, it’s time to decide. It’s a little easier now that the Michael Vick situation is sorted out, but it’s still a tough 48 hours for those on the bubble.
Obviously, there are 30 or so guys who are a lock to make the team. And for those 22 who are cut, there are still eight practice squad spots to be had.
So, with that in mind, it’s time for me to play armchair GM and wager a guess as to who survives, who goes and who becomes practice squad fodder.
Kept (4*): Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, AJ Feeley*
And we start with a sticky situation. Michael Vick is suspended for the first two weeks, so AJ Feeley will likely be on the roster until then.
The suspension really gives the Eagles a chance to deal Feeley, and chances are someone will take a chance even though he’s 36 and hasn’t played a snap in two years.
Personally, I'd let Kolb go, but that's another story for another day.
Kept (4): Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Eldra Buckley, Leonard Weaver
Practice Squad (1): Kyle Eckel
Released (2): Marcus Mailei, Lorenzo Booker
The battle is between Buckley and Eckel for the final spot of the four. Buckley is a speedy change of pace back so he has the edge.
Eckel is a good receiver, but is more of a true fullback—a position the Eagles rarely use one of, let alone two.
Booker has shown almost nothing in his year in Philly and I’m actually surprised he hasn’t been released yet. Granted, the fourth round pick they gave up for him wasn’t much, but it was still a waste.
Mailei has been decent, but again, the Eagles don’t need two fullbacks. He would be a practice squad candidate, but Eckel’s versatility will get him that nod.
Kept (6): DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Brown
Practice Squad (1): Brandon Gibson
Released (1): Danny Amendola
Really no shock, as the money they have tied up in Reggie Brown this season keeps him on the roster. It’s basically last year’s group with Maclin replacing Greg Lewis.
Gibson has played very well this pre-season and could almost bump out Brown or even Avant, but rookies don’t usually see much time in Reid’s system—and with one in Maclin and a second-year guy in Jackson, Gibson won’t make the main roster.
However, his excellent pre-season will get him on the practice squad. Amendola could steal Eckel’s spot on the practice squad, but his lack of size loses him in the shuffle.
Kept (3): Brent Celek, Tony Curtis, Eugene Bright
Practice Squad (0)
Released (2): Matt Schobel, Rob Myers
Curtis was acquired to be the blocking complement to breakout star Celek, leaving only the third spot in doubt.
Schobel is a veteran but brings little to the table as a third TE, and while Bright and Myers are both projects, Bright’s sheer size (6-foot-4, 268 pounds) makes him a better blocking option.
I'd say Bright makes the roster to be utliized solely as a blocker, as Curtis is also an adequate receiver when needed.
Kept (8): Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Jamaal Jackson, Todd Herremans, Jason Peters, Mike McGlynn, Nick Cole, Max-Jean Gilles
Practice Squad (2): King Dunlap, Fenuki Tepou
Released (3): Paul Fanaika, Dallas Reynolds, Mike Gibson, WInston Justice
The starting five is set, but because of injury concerns, the backups will have to be versatile.
And the three who make the team are. Gilles can play either guard, Cole can play all three interior spots and McGlynn can play anywhere.
Dunlap has looked good in the pre-season, but there’s really not a spot for unless they go with nine linemen.
Injuries, inconsistency and the play of Dunlap and McGlynn have pretty much played Justice out of a roster spot, although he could be kept as the third tackle because of his experience.
Of the final four, Tepou is most likely to be kept (if any) because he’s a true tackle.
Kept (10): Trent Cole, Juqua Parker, Victor Abiamiri, Chris Clemons, Darren Howard, Jason Babin, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Trevor Laws, Dan Klecko
Practice Squad (1): Josh Gaines
Released (2): Willie Williams, Bryan Smith
The competition is really down to the third-string ends, as the other eight are set.
Clemons will make the team because of his contract and Babin—who had another huge game against the Jets—has played his way onto the squad, most likely at Smith’s expense.
Smith really hasn’t shown much and with Babin’s ability to play LB in a pinch, he’s more valuable. Gaines has looked good in camp and will get a shot on the practice squad in case Laws or Klecko falter.
Kept (7): Chris Gocong, Joe Mays, Akeem Jordan, Omar Gaither, Matt Wilhelm, Tracy White, Tank Daniels
Practice Squad (1): Moise Fokou
Released (1): Curtis Gatewood
This could be a lot different beyond Wilhelm when the roster is cut for real.
White and Daniels’ special teams prowess is what keeps them ahead of Fokou, who has shown promise but could use a year of seasoning on the practice squad.
But if the Birds feel he can contribute on special teams, he will replace one of the last two—most likely Daniels.
Kept (9): Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown, Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Quentin Mikell, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris, Sean Jones, Dimitri Patterson
Practice Squad (1): Jack Ikegwuonu
Released (2): Reshard Langford, Trae Williams
The four corners are set. Demps and Jones are still battling for the free safety spot, and Harris’ ability to play both CB and S keeps him on the roster.
Patterson is a starting gunner on special teams so he will make the team, but the team will have to see how badly he's hurt (Patterson got up limping after a special teams tackle in the second half).
Ikegwuonu is a longshot to make the team over a ninth lineman or seventh linebacker because of his return skills. However, he will likely end up on the practice squad.
Either Langford or Williams could steal Eckel’s spot on the practice squad as well.
Kept (3): David Akers, Sav Rocca, Jon Dorenbos
No shock here.
And yes, I used a pic of Jon Dorenbos because you didn't see it coming.