It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas or Thanksgiving. It’s time to predict what the Philadelphia Eagles final 53-man roster might look like. The team cut five players earlier this week to get down to 85.
They need to whittle that number down to 53 by 4 p.m. on August 30. Eagles training camp has been rather boring this season, devoid of any position battles at the starting spots or (knock on wood) season-ending injuries. Philadelphia is currently in Cleveland preparing for two joint practices with the Browns on August 18 and August 19.
Deshaun Watson’s adjusted suspension — the Browns quarterback will miss 11 games, according to reports — has already overshadowed whatever the Browns and Eagles do on the practice field. So, let’s take an educated guess at predicting Philly’s final 53-man roster for Week 1.
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Predicting Eagles Final 53-Man Roster
Let’s start off this exercise with the locked-in starters and immediate backups. No real surprises here. (Players in italics are bubble guys; more analysis below).
Quarterbacks (3): Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, Reid Sinnett
Running Backs (4): Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott, Jason Huntley
Wide Receivers (6): A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Zach Pascal, Britain Covey
Tight Ends (2): Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll
Offensive Line (10): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Sua Opeta, Cam Jurgens, Jack Driscoll, Andre Dillard, Jack Anderson
Analysis: There’s not much to debate on the above list. Barring a last-minute trade — Andre Dillard’s name gets mentioned often — these 25 players should make the team. The pecking order of the receivers might change, especially in regard to Zach Pascal. He has flashed quite a bit in camp despite missing six practices due to a “rough” battle with food poisoning.
Pascal could have pushed Quez Watkins for the starting slot job had he not missed so much time. Jack Stoll gets the nod over rookie Grant Calcaterra for two reasons: Stoll is a better blocker and Calcaterra has a nagging hamstring injury. The offensive line is stacked and deep. They’ll try to stash Calcaterra on the practice squad.
Defensive ends (4): Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson
Defensive tackles (5): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu
Linebackers (6): Kyzir White, T.J. Edwards, Haason Reddick, Nakobe Dean, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor
Cornerbacks (5): Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan
Safeties (5): Marcus Epps, Anthony Harris, Josiah Scott, Andre Chachere, Ugo Amadi
Analysis: Zech McPhearson hasn’t had a great camp but the Eagles aren’t going to cut their fourth-round pick from 2021. Plus, Darius Slay loves the second-year player. Shaun Bradley makes it over Patrick Johnson because of his contributions on special teams. Bradley is a stud there.
The safety position was the biggest question mark coming into camp and it’s still kind of murky. Marcus Epps has missed time with a back injury, leaving the door ajar for keeping an extra player. Anthony Harris is a serviceable starter; Josiah Scott has looked good, and Andre Chachere is the old reliable veteran in the room.
Kicker (1): Jake Elliott
Punter (1): Arryn Siposs
Long Snapper (1): Rick Lovato
Analysis: None needed. This is the group.
Remember, tight end Tyree Jackson and guard/tackle Brett Toth are on the Active/PUP list. They do not count against the 53-man limit. Neither do tight end Jaeden Graham (injured reserve) or defensive end Matt Leo (international exemption).
Safety and Cornerback Battles
It doesn’t take a genius to see the real battles are at safety and cornerback. The Eagles kept four cornerbacks and four safeties in 2021, so that’s a good starting point. But there is a significant lack of experience and depth at the safety spot.
Josiah Scott is transitioning from cornerback and Andre Chachere is nothing more than a veteran placeholder. The team is going to take a look at newcomer Ugo Amadi while weighing the benefits of giving up on Jaquiski Tartt and K’Von Wallace.
Here is how the final seven spots should play out:
G Jack Anderson: He was a seventh-round pick in 2021 and a guy the Eagles poached from the Buffalo Bills practice squad. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder saw action in two games last season (81 snaps) while posting 71.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. He’s a really solid depth piece and backup right guard.
QB Reid Sinnett: Sinnett is the new Nate Sudfeld. He has looked good enough in camp — and on that 18-play drive — to warrant the spot over rookie Carson Strong. Things could change if Strong takes the world by storm in the final two preseason games, though. Remember, Strong didn’t play in the opener against the New York Jets. (Editor’s note: the Eagles have traditionally kept three quarterbacks on the roster).
S Ugo Amadi: Howie Roseman saw enough in the 2019 fourth-rounder to make a trade with Seattle. Yes, it was for J.J. Arcega-Whiteisde. Yes, Amadi was going to get cut anyway. Still, the 25-year-old was a playmaker at Oregon and fits the mold of the hybrid player that defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon likes patrolling his secondary. Much like Josiah Scott, Amadi can play nickel corner and safety.
RB Boston Scott: The coaching staff loves him and he’s been super productive since making the jump from the practice squad. Scott has 14 touchdowns in 45 career games, the most of any running back on the roster. He’s not going anywhere.
RB Jason Huntley: His speed and burst has been hard to ignore at camp. Huntley has also been the best return man (outside of Britain Covey) this summer. His blocking has been the issue in recent years – and he did fumble in the first preseason game – but the talent is there. They could try and sneak him on the practice squad but he’ll have suitors. The only wild card would be if the Eagles decided to sign or trade for a bruising power back instead.
WR Britain Covey: The Utah product has been a surprise standout – as a slot receiver, in the return game – and has drawn comparisons to Julian Edelman. That praise seems a tad premature, but Covey has definitely played his way into a roster spot.
CB Tay Gowan: Flip a coin between Gowan and Josh Jobe. Both cornerbacks have been competing their butts off, earning some first-team reps in the process. Gowan put on a show during the Jets game: he forced two incompletions and allowed only one catch on four targets into his coverage. He broke up a pass in the end zone on one of those targets. Remember, Gowan came over to Philly in the Zach Ertz trade.