This article is my prediction of who will make the Philadelphia Eagles starting day roster against the Green Bay Packers. Looking at some articles on Bleeding Green Nation, or even some un-thought out comments by fans here on Bleacher Report regarding who will make the cut I thought it was about time someone threw a full roster out into the open.
I came to the final roster not just by picking the starters and a few back-ups at each position, but also taking into account special team roles including Kick & Punt Returns. I was surprised by my final roster which I finalised at 24 offensive players, 26 defensive players & 3 specialists.
Hope you find this list an interesting read. Feel free to post comments at the bottom, even if they are to say I am talking a lot of rubbish!
There are no real surprises here, the Eagles will stick to their annual tradition of keeping 3 QB's on the roster.
Starter: Kevin Kolb
Has become the new face of the franchise since the departure of Donovan McNabb this off-season. Bar a 0-6 start or a bad injury he should keep this spot through the season.
Back-up: Michael Vick
After a full off-season to completely knock off the rust, Vick is now as close to his former freakish athleticism than he will ever be. Although a back-up he stands to be a change of pace QB. Although I wouldn't be too keen on seeing him starting games due to his traditionally poor decision making.
Third String: Mike Kafka
He is Andy Reids new project QB. This year he will not see the field other than over the clipboard he shall be holding. He has had a Jekyll and Hyde pre-season so far, but has flashed promise.
Quarterbacks to make roster: 3
Halfback is one of the deeper positions on the Eagles roster during the pre-season. The selection for the 53 man roster is as much about how many players make a position as who makes the position. I see these players making the cut:
Starter: LeSean "Shady" McCoy
Entering his Sophomore year as starter, McCoy is a lock for the starting day roster. No chance of that changing.
Back-up: Mike Bell
Having flattered to deceive this off-season, Bell is on shaky ground. Due to the fact he has been a productive and proven veteran, and has the largest contract (bar Shady McCoy) of all the Halfbacks on the roster, he will suit up against Green Bay in the season opener.
Third String: Eldra Buckley
A hard choice here, but at the end of the day it comes down to special teams performance. Buckley is a proven Gunner on special teams and always raises his game to the occasion.
Cut: J. J. Arrington due to lack of performance & Martell Mallet due to lack of special teams experience. Charles Scott was recently traded to the Cardinals.
Halfbacks to make roster: 3
With the trade of Charles Scott and the annual knee injury to Cornelius Ingram this list picks itself:
Starter: Leonard Weaver (FB)
After having an anyone will do attitude to the position for too long there is no way that a Pro-Bowl fullback will not make the roster.
Starter: Brent Celek (TE)
Was close to Pro-Bowl recognition last season & led the Eagles in receptions. With little competition to his position as starter he is a lock for the roster.
Back-up: Clay Harbor (TE)
With virtually no competition to his position as back-up, he will effectively make the roster by default. Although this is not ill deserved.
Cut: Nate Lawrie, a camp body and perennial practise squad member. Cornelius Ingram should make IR if not cut.
Fullback & Tight End's to make roster: 3
For the first time in many years the Eagles have depth at the Wide Receiver position, with practically all the players showing NFL calibre talent. This is how I see the position play-out:
Starter: DeSean Jackson
Bar some horrible injury he is the Eagles number 1 receiver going into the season.
Starter: Jeremy Maclin
Has failed to impress so far this pre-season, but with any luck will improve upon his rookie year.
Back-up: Jason Avant
He is no Wes Welker, but is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, especially on 3rd down. By far the most polished on the roster.
Back-up: Riley Cooper
Looks like a hidden gem from this years draft. Rapidly becoming a favourite of all the QB's and is catching everything thrown his way.
Third String: Kelley Washington
At first I wasn't impressed, but as a known special team performer along with showcasing better receiving skills than Hank Baskett he will make the roster.
Third String: Chad Hall
This may seem like a silly pick. But I am accounting his versatility and special teams play into this. I don't think Jackson & Maclin will be risked on Punt Returns all year.
Cut: Hank Baskett, he was cut last year in a WR corps with less talent. Jordan Norwood & Dobson Collins will go back to the practise squad.
Wide Receivers to make Roster: 6
The major area of concern for the Eagles since Week 17 last year against Dallas. Hopefully with the line becoming healthier day by day with the starting O-Line practising together, this should no longer be a problem come the season opener. Here are my picks to make the roster:
Starting LT: Jason Peters A pro-bowler last year, although he has not shown his full potential yet this pre-season and he has continued his irritating habit is silly penalties. He will make the team.
Starting LG: Todd Herremans When he is healthy he does border on playing at a pro-bowl level. As long as his foot holds up the Eagles are set at LG for this season.
Starting C: Jamaal Jackson He is practising now and looks to be starter against Green Bay. Even if he doesn't start the first game, expect him to be back by the Redskins game on October 3rd.
Starting RG: Stacey Andrews He is showing glimpses of his former Pro-Bowl ability, but is still only mediocre the majority of the time. If he improves over the season he will be worth every penny of his reduced pay. If not he will be looking for a new team come 2011.
Starting RT: Winston Justice Solid, reliable and packing a new contract. I have no worries about him as he has no injury history and improves with every game he plays.
Back-up: Austin Howard (LT & RT) Out performed most other players in training camp and shows a great mean streak in his blocking. A potential starter in years to come.
Back-up: Max Jean-Gilles (LG & RG) Lighter, faster and with any luck will see an improvement in his play this season. Didn't play particularly well in his pre-season outings, but neither did most of the O-line.
Back-up: Nick Cole (LG, C & RG) Too small for my liking, but does an adequate job filling in. Will make the team due to experience at a variety of positions.
Back-up: Mike McGlynn (LG, C & RG) Andy Reid loves versatile linemen, and I get the feeling following his steady performances at C in the pre-season he will make the team.
Cut: King Dunlap & Jeraill McCuller. Dallas Reynolds, A. Q. Shipley & Fenuki Tupou will make the practise squad.
Offensive Linemen to make roster: 9
This position really had me thinking, just due to the influx of unknown talent over this off-season, veterans and rookies alike. After some careful deliberation I came up with this list:
Starter: Trent Cole
He is THE MAN on the Eagles defense. The most influential and productive player on the field. A lock for the day 1 roster.
Starter: Brandon Graham
After leapfrogging Juqua Parker in the depth chart, he should be starter on day 1 providing a rush opposite Trent Cole. People are tagging him as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year. That is a nice thought to entertain.
Back-up: Juqua Parker
Although he is back-up he for the first few games he will spell Graham. As an incumbent starter he will see snaps all season long.
Back-up: Darryl Tapp
Was slated to start opposite Trent Cole before the draft. He will be a back-up on the line, and will see snaps in the rotation for Trent Cole. Will see time at DT in nickel packages. He will make the roster.
Third String: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Hasn't impressed much so far, but will make the roster as part of the DE rotation and will see time inside at DT during nickel packages.
Cut: Eric Muncur, he is just a camp body. Ricky Sapp will make the practise squad. Victor Abiamiri will start the season on PUP and will likely be demoted to Injured Reserve, or released.
Defensive Ends to make roster: 5
Defensive Tackle has been one of the most interesting positions since training camp. Behind the incumbent starters Mike Patterson & Brodrick Bunkley you have a 3 way battle for 2 roster spots between former second round pick Trevor Laws, powerful but raw Antonio Dixon & rookie Jeff Owens. This is how I see the battle panning out:
Starter: Brodrick Bunkley
The former 1st round pick has been solid for the Eagles for several seasons now. His position on the roster is a lock.
Starter: Mike Patterson
Along with fellow first round pick and starter Brodrick Bunkley, his roster spot is a lock. Should have no problem beating off opposition for the starting spot.
Back-up: Trevor Laws
After an injury plagued and highly disappointing Sophomore campaign, Laws has come back stronger and faster showing some of his second round pedigree. He will likely see time spelling Patterson as he did in his rookie campaign. Will make the roster.
Back-up: Jeff Owens
The 7th round draft pick has been a constant pain to the offensive linemen he has been lined up against. He consistently gets pressure on the QB and provides a much needed inside pass rush. For this reason he makes the roster.
Cut: Boo Robinson & Antonio Dixon
Defensive Tackles to make the roster: 4
With season ending injuries to Stewart Bradley & Omar Gaither, in addition to knicks picked up by Akeen Jordan and Chris Gocong. The Eagles Linebacker corps was a revolving door, even with the additions of Will Witherspoon via trade and Jeremiah Trotter from retirement. This year the corps is back to full health and these are the players I see making the roster:
Starter MIKE: Stewart Bradley
After a fantastic 2008 season he was struck down with a season ending torn ACL on the Eagles flight night. He proved irreplaceable. He is expected to call the shots and lead the Eagles new defense in the smash mouth NFC East. Bar another injury he is a lock for the roster.
Starter WILL: Ernie Sims
The former first round pick was picked up in a 3 team trade involving the Broncos, Eagles and Lions this off-season. Known as "the shark" to the coaches he looks to provide an upgrade over the departed Will Witherspoon. He will make the roster.
Starter SAM: Akeem Jordan
The undrafted free agent regained his starting spot this off-season and doesn't look like relinquishing it again. He will have no problem making the roster this season.
Back-up: Omar Gaither (MIKE, WILL & SAM)
With experience starting at all 3 positions he will be the go to guy for the Eagles if there is an injury. Will make the roster due to his experience and ability to play at all 3 positions.
Back-up: Moise Fokou (SAM)
Started 4 games last season and recently lost the starting job to Akeem Jordan and has seen snaps at defensive end in practise. However I still see him making the roster as a back-up SAM linebacker.
Back-up: Tracey White (WILL)
He was resigned to the roster for his special teams prowess. He will likely not see many snaps on defense, but will make the team purely for his work on special teams.
Third String: Keenan Clayton (WILL)
Another project player for the Eagles defense. The 4th round pick hasn't seen much action so far, but is more than likely beng groomed for the 2011 season. He will make the roster for this reason.
Cut: No Linebackers on the roster will be cut, however Jamar Chaney will find a spot on the practise squad.
Linebackers to make the roster: 7
With long time starter Sheldon Brown being traded to the Cleveland Browns this off-season, Ellis Hobbs looks set to resume the 16-0 Patriots CB tandem with Asante Samuel. At a position that has featured numerous pro-bowlers in the last decade, there is an interesting new group of players vying for a roster spot this season:
Starter: Asante Samuel
After another pro-bowl year he is a lock for the number 1 CB spot for another season.
Starter: Ellis Hobbs
After impressive play against larger receivers in the pre-season he pretty much has this position nailed down. Along with his kick return abilities he is a lock to make this team.
Back-up: Joselio Hanson
After establishing himself as one of the leagues better nickel corners in 2008, he had a poor season in 2009 including a drug suspension. He will remain a nickel corner this season and will make the roster.
Back-up: Trevard Lindley
After an impressive training camp and pre-season display, he has put himself in the running as being the primary back-up at CB this season. With his potential and current talent level he will make the roster.
Third String: Dimitri Patterson
After solid pre-season performances he is set to make the roster for a second year running. Will more than likely see time as a Dime Corner.
Third String: Victor "Macho" Harris
I see him making the team purely due to 2 reasons. His ability to play safety and cornerback, and his ability to return kicks. As he will provide depth to numerous positions, he will make the team.
Cut: Jorrick Calvin, a camp body. Geoff Pope and recently acquired David Pender will make the practise squad.
Cornerbacks to make the roster: 6
Andy Reid has a horrible habit of leaving a glaring hole at 1 position each year. 1 year it was kick returner (Greg Lewis anyone?) and another year it was Fullback (Dan Klecko). Last season it was Free Safety following the loss of Brian Dawkins to the Denver Broncos. After the Macho Harris/Sean Jones/Quentin Demps experiment this is how I see the safety position 12 months on:
Starter SS: Quintin Mikell
After making the pro-bowl last season having effectively played 2 positions all season long, he is set to have another solid season as the old head in a young group of safeties. He is another lock to make the roster.
Starter FS: Nate Allen
Drafted using the very same pick traded by the Redskins for Donovan McNabb, he is set to be the second Rookie to start at FS in as many years following the achilles tear suffered by Marlin Jackson. However he is a lifelong safety and looks very impressive so far. He is a lock to make the team.
Back-up SS: Kurt Coleman
The impressive 7th round pick out of Ohio State has continued his upward spiral and looks set to make the 53 man roster following good performances during the pre-season and training camp.
Back-up FS: Quintin Demps
After a dissapointing sophomore campaign where he nose-dived from starting FS to a healthy scratch, he is looking to rebound this season and provide depth as a kick returner.
Cut: Anthony Scirrotto, a camp body. Marlin Jackson & Antoine Harris are on IR
Safety's to make roster: 4
Now onto the often forgotten guys on the roster, the Kicker, Punter and Long Snapper. I have never seen a Long Snapper on Madden, and rarely see them on roster predictions. Last season Jon Dorenbos was recognised with a pro-bowl berth joining 4 times pro-bowler David Akers in Miami. The list pretty much writes itself:
Kicker: David Akers
The 4 times pro-bowler was recently named to the NFL 2000's All-Decade team. Along with holding the NFL record for points during the same decade, he is not a bad player to have as your Kicker.
Punter: Sav Rocca
The former Aussie rules football player has set the Eagles record for average punting distance each year he has played. He does have the unfortunate habit to slice the odd ball, but he is a solid player.
Long Snapper: Jon Dorenbos
Since taking over from Mike Bartrum in 2006 he has not missed a single game. Known to have a snap timing average of 0.62 seconds he is one of the top Long Snappers in the NFL. As with the other specialists he will make the 53 man roster.
Specialists to make the roster: 3
To conclude here is a depth chart for all those players who I predict have made the roster:
Offense: (24 players)
QB: Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, Mike Kafka
HB: LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell, Eldra Buckley
FB: Leonard Weaver
TE: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
WR1: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper
WR2: Jeremy Maclin, Kelley Washington
WR3: Jason Avant, Chad Hall
LT: Jason Peters, Austin Howard
LG: Todd Herremans, Max Jean-Gilles
C: Jamaal Jackson, Mike McGlynn
RG: Stacey Andrews, Nick Cole
RT: Winston Justice, Austin Howard
Defense: (26 players)
LDE: Brandon Graham, Juqua Parker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
LDT: Mike Patterson, Trevor Laws
RDT: Brodrick Bunkley, Jeff Owens
RDE: Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp
WILL: Ernie Sims, Keenan Clayton, Tracey White
MIKE: Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither
SAM: Akeem Jordan, Moise Fokou
LCB: Asante Samuel, Joselio Hanson, Dimitri Patterson
RCB: Ellis Hobbs, Trevard Lindley
SS: Quintin Mikell, Kurt Coleman
FS: Nate Allen, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris
Special Teams: (3 players)
P: Sav Rocca
K: David Akers
LS: Jon Dorenbos
PR: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Chad Hall
KR: Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Feedback or comment would be appreciated. Especially if it is a disagreeing view.