Photo Source: Chris Szagola, AP Photos
With training camp officially underway, football is finally back! I'll be picking up where I left off in terms of Philadelphia Eagles coverage. So, enjoy this initial 53 man roster prediction for the Birds.
Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco - 2 (2)
Hurts is primed to be the week one starter for the Eagles. The franchise hopes that he can prove that he's their long-term solution. Joe Flacco signing for $3.5 million all but guarantees he'll be on the team.
Wide Reciever: Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, Quez Watkins - 5 (7)
It's a shame that Devonta Smith, the Eagles 2021 first-round draft pick, got injured during training camp. But, he should be ready to go by the time the season begins. The team is hoping that Reagor can take a big leap forward this year and that Fulgham can re-capture his midseason form from last year. Greg Ward is the most reliable player on the team and Watkins is a serious field stretcher.
Running Back: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, Jason Huntley - 4 (11)
I was originally only going to keep three running backs here, but Jason Huntley has been one of the standouts in Eagles Training Camp thus far. By all accounts, he's one of the fastest players on the team, and the Eagles like his kick return potential. Sanders and Scott are locks to make the roster. Gainwell was the Eagles' fifth-round pick this year, so he'll stick on the roster for now.
Tight End: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Tyree Jackson - 4 (15)
Plenty of Eagles writers still think Ertz won't be on the roster by the time the season starts. I just don't see that being the case. If a team wanted to trade for Ertz, I think they would've done so already and it's not like he's a bad player to have on your team. Goedert & Rodgers are roster locks. Jackson is a QB turned TE who's arguably had the best training camp of any Eagles player thus far. So, I don't think the team would want to risk him not clearing waivers if he gets cut.
Offensive Line: Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Nate Herbig, Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Luke Juriga - 10 (25)
I think the Eagles keep ten offensive linemen because of how injury-prone this position group has been in recent years. I'd rather keep a backup for each position and have them ready for game day than have to switch around my lineup midgame, which happened all the time last season.
Defensive Tackle: Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Hassan Ridgeway, Marlon Tuipulotou - 4 (29)
The hope here is that Hargrave, Ridgeway, and the rookie from USC, Tuipulotou, will be able to do enough to keep Cox fresh throughout the season. If Cox has to play a high amount of snaps early in the year, he'll burn out as the Eagles progress through their schedule.
Defensive End: Brandon Graham, Ryan Kerrigan, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Milton Williams - 5 (34)
Graham & Kerrigan are the veterans of this group and will be reliable stables for the left defensive end position. Barnett & Sweat are both entering contract years and have a lot to prove on the right side. So far during camp, both have been playing at a very high level. Williams, a rookie out of Louisiana Tech, played both defensive tackle and end in college. But, the Eagles apparently see him as more of an end.
Linebacker: Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor, T.J. Edwards, Jacoby Stevens - 6 (40)
Historically, the Eagles have undervalued the linebacker position. However new defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, has shown multiple different linebacker looks throughout training camp thus far. It's that seemingly early emphasis on this position that has me keeping six here. The team is hoping last year's third-round pick, Davion Taylor can make a huge leap this year.
Cornerback: Darius Slay, Steve Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Michael Jacquet, Craig James - 6 (46)
Slay & Nelson form a solid starting duo on the outside. Maddox and James will be the primary slot options. Rookie McPhearson is having the best training camp of any Eagles player thus far. While some
Safety: Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, K'Von Wallace, Marcus Epps - 4(50)
The team hopes McLeod can return from injury for the start of the regular season. If not, expect to see him put on the PUP list and sign another safety from their camp this year.
Specialists: Jake Elliot, Rick Lovato, Arryn Sippos - 3(53)
Elliot needs to perform better this year than last year if he wants a career with the team long-term. Lovato returns as long snapper and Sippos is in his first year with the team as their new punter.
Stay tuned for plenty more Eagles content and coverage as the NFL season progresses! Go Birds!