NFL rosters have to be down to 53 players tomorrow. This is Chip Kelly’s first year in the NFL so it is hard to say what he and Howie Roseman might want to keep and how much they are looking around the league. Kelly has commented in the past that if he had a say, he would up the roster size to 80 player. This post is the 53 men I would put on the roster right now. My preference is to keep younger guys to develop with the knowledge that this probably isn’t a Super Bowl winning roster quite yet. I do believe at least 2 or 3 moves will be made in the next week, so I will also note which of my 53 players I expect to be in jeopardy of making it only to be cut a few days later.
Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley
Not really a whole lot to discuss here.
Running Backs (4): Lesean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker.
Chip will probably run the ball a lot more than Eagles fans have seen in a decade. Add to that the chance for formations where Shady lines up in the slot and Brown is in the backfield to get the best matchups and the best talent on the field. I also don’t trust that Matthew Tucker would be available to make it to the practice squad so I would rather have the depth on the roster and ready to go.
Tight Ends (4): Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz, Clay Harbor
Four tight ends has been the expectation and Clay Harbor learned some wide receiver to provide depth there.
Wide Receivers (5): Desean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Russell Shepard
This one is tough because Greg Salas has played so well. With 4 tight ends and 4 running backs there is less room for wide outs and Greg Salas would have a tough time making it on the field with Jason Avant already entrenched as the slot receiver and Damaris as the probable backup there. I give the nod to Shepard instead thanks to special teams ability and youth.
Offensive Line (9): Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbe, Julian Vandervelde, Michael Barimo, Danny Watkins
The 5 starters are set and Allen Barbe is the backup at left tackle and left guard. Julian Vandervelde is the backup at center and has guard experience, but could be a guy who is upgraded by the end of the week. In this projection, I am anticipating Dennis Kelly being placed on the PUP list so that he is 100% down the stretch. Danny Watkins makes the team for now but could be traded or cut for an upgrade elsewhere. Matt Tobin is a dark horse to sneak onto the roster.
Defensive Line (7): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Isaac Sopoaga, Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers, Damion Square
Most of these guys are pretty locked into roster spots with Square as the only one I’m not sold on. Square is a smart player but not a strong physical talent. For now he will be on the roster and ideally he would spend the season inactive and in the weight room. I would love to upgrade over Sopoaga, but hopefully Logan earns the starting role by mid-season. Antonio Dixon is done.
Outside Linebackers (4): Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Chris McCoy
I think these 4 guys are all locks. Cole and Graham can both move to defensive end in passing situations as well, which may end up costing a guy like Square a roster spot if another outside linebacker with 3-4 experience can be found. Everette Brown might have done enough to make it on another roster but I don’t expect to see him in Philly and Adrian Robinson simply didn’t have enough time to earn a spot.
Inside Linebackers (4): Mychal Kendricks, Demeco Ryans, Emmanuel Acho, Jake Knott
Kendricks and Ryans are the unquestioned starters and Acho and Knott look like strong backups. Watching Casey Matthews last night took him off my list, but he could make the team based on camp and based on special teams needs.
Cornerbacks (5): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Jordon Poyer, (Player to be named later)
I am keeping Poyer because he has long term potential and appears to be able to contribute right away on special teams. There will absolutely be a 5th corner added sometime soon but that player is not on the roster yet. I just think Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh getting hurt took away their chances to impress the new coaching staff. Eddie Whitley would have been my 5th had he not gotten hurt. Poor Trevard Lindley gets cut every year at this time.
Safety (5): Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman
The top 3 guys are pretty much set. Colt Anderson is too valuable on special teams and is effective enough as a run stopping safety. Kurt Coleman makes the team because of his willingness to do anything but is another candidate to be cut later this week for someone from the waiver wire.
Special Teams (3): Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
Pretty straight forward here.
Now I will make a guess at the practice squad. One thing to keep in mind is that several players do not have eligibility due to NFL rules, and others may get signed to other teams.
Dennis Dixon – although I would like GJ Kinne as well, Dixon is the better option for now
Emil Igwenagu – he’s been here before and could get the call quickly if any of the tight ends go down
Derek Carrier – some people think he was cut early in an attempt to limit film so he can be kept on the P.S. Brett Brackett was signed away by Jacksonville last year and teams are always looking for athletic tight ends.
Joe Kruger – a year on the practice squad could do wonders for him and he could then push for a spot in the rotation next year
Travis Long – another guy who simply needs a year to develop and could absolutely make the team next year
Matt Tobin – if he doesn’t end up on the 53 man roster
Wide Receiver – Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl and Greg Salas all have eligibility but Salas will be on someone’s roster. I love the potential of Momah, especially his size, but his lack of experience has been apparent through camp and pre-season, where as Maehl has a veteran presence. Odds are the spot is an outsider.
Cornerback – There is a chance the coaches don’t think Poyer is ready and he ends up here, but that means they found other options for the active roster. If not, this will be a defensive back cut from another roster.