Top 5 Eagles Surprising Trade or Cut Candidates on Roster Bubble

Cre'Von LeBlanc

Getty Cre'Von LeBlanc spent three productive seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles mostly as a nickel cornerback.

The Eagles have major decisions to make on their 53-man roster. It’s time to start thinking big picture.

With about a week until NFL cut-down day (Sept. 5), certain players have flashed at training camp while others seem mired in the mud. Blame a lack of “grass time” and unfortunate injuries for some of those failed experiments. The good news has been the rookies have largely looked really good, particularly the wide receivers. Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins have all come as advertised.

Now it’s time to fine-tune and fill out depth charts. A sense of urgency has been Doug Pederson’s main message to the team. Remember, the season opener is only two weeks away: Sept. 13 in Washington.

“That sense of urgency I think with the entire team — that’s with coaches, too,” the head coach said. “That’s not just with the players. And I’ve got to continue to put that out in front of the team. We’ve got to be able to see that. That’s something that we’ve got to be able to touch. It’s real. It’s where we are. It’s where every team is at, quite frankly.”

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Top 5 Trade or Cut Candidates for Eagles

Sidney Jones: Does the former second-round pick (43rd overall) have any trade value at this point? It’s a tough question and the name Ethan Pocic had been tossed around as an interesting swap idea. Jones came into camp with a legitimate shot at winning the starting cornerback job opposite Darius Slay, then he got hurt and never found his way back into the rotation. Avonte Maddox has won the competition there. Jones can’t even get on the field, a problem that has haunted him since 2017 after seeing action in just 22 out of a possible 48 regular-season games.

Jordan Mailata: Andre Dillard’s season-ending injury complicates the matter of what to do with the 350-pounder from Australia. He was taking reps with the first-team offense on Thursday as the starting left tackle but the 23-year-old hasn’t had the best camp. Mailata, a seventh-round pick in 2018, has enviable size and elite athleticism, two major reasons why he continues to linger on the roster. Is that enough to earn him a spot on the 53? He could wind up being cut or he could be the Week 1 starter at left tackle.

Shareef Miller: Miller had a golden opportunity to separate himself as the fourth edge rusher, especially after hearing teammates talk about how ferociously he attacked the offseason. Miller promised a 10-sack season. But he hasn’t seized the moment and Vinny Curry was signed in free agency. Meanwhile, Joe Ostman and Casey Toohill have the inside track as the fourth defensive end. Both look hungrier, plus they better fit Jim Schwartz’s defense which values “tweener” players. Teams don’t like to give up on high draft picks — Miller was a fourth-rounder in 2019 — but maybe it’s time to explore a trade over flat-out cutting him. Miller did see reps with the first-team defense on Thursday and recorded a sack.

Cre’Von LeBlanc: The Eagles inked their nickel cornerback to a one-year, $1.3 million deal last September. He was supposed to be one of their building blocks for the future, a promising young cornerback coming off a breakout year. However, a Lisfranc sprain limited LeBlanc to just four games in 2019. Then, the Eagles surprisingly went out and signed veteran Nickell Robey-Coleman in the offseason. The former Ram has owned the slot, winning the competition for the starting nickel spot before it even started. LeBlanc has flashed in camp and the organization loves him. That being said, his trade value has never been higher.

Deontay Burnett: The wide receivers room is crowded. The Eagles invested three picks in the position, plus starter Alshon Jeffery is on the mend and poised for a large role. Burnett was one of those practice-squad guys thrust into the fire last year and showed he could handle the pressure. The USC standout has only raised his stock this summer with a really impressive camp. He’s pushing for a spot on the 53 and maybe the Eagles should explore a trade while his value is at an all-time high. There is no way he makes it off waivers and back to the practice squad.

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