Predicting How the Eagles 53 Man Roster Is FinalizedBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, General News, News, NFL Friday, September 2nd, 2011
The preseason exhibitions an now complete. The Eagles 2nd and 3rd string teams conducted their final auditions for not just Philadelphia, but the entire NFL.
For some players, it has been a forgone conclusion that they’ll still be in midnight green after the final cut. With others, the 4th preseason game was their final tryout.
After tonight’s 24-14 victory over the New York Jet, this is what I think the Eagles 53 man roster will look like.
- Quarterback (3): Michael Vick; Vince Young; Mike Kafka……This was the projected QB lineup the moment Young was signed. The $100 million Vick is the face of the franchise. Young is likely the No. 2, but Kafka is No. 2a.
- Halfback (3): LeSean McCoy: Ronnie Brown; Dion Lewis….This trio has the potential to be the best 3 headed monster since Andy Reid became head coach. Look for undrafted rookie Graig Cooper to land on the practice squad. Eldra Buckley played like he’s expecting to be released against the Jets.
- Fullback (1): Owen Schmitt*…..After reports that the Eagles attempted to claim Jerome Felton off waivers, it makes you wonder how satisfied they are with Schmitt. They prefer an FB who can be a weapon and a blocker, so the Eagles fullback could very well be another teams cut on Saturday. Stan Havili’s slim chance dropped when he fumbled in FG range. He’ll likely be on the practice squad.
- Wide Receiver (6): DeSean Jackson; Jeremy Maclin; Steve Smith; Jason Avant; Riley Cooper; Sinorice Moss….The first five receivers are locks, but I think Moss beat out Chad Hall based on his punt return ability (especially after Hall fumbled twice). The other receivers, including Johnny Lee Higgins, had to know they wouldn’t be Eagles in September.
- Tight End (3): Brent Celek; Clay Harbor; Donald Lee….I’ve never liked the strategy of keeping just two tight ends. Unlike last season, the Eagles have more talented options and will likely keep three this time around. Cornelius Ingram showed flashes of why he was considered a steal when he was drafted in 2009. He’ll land somewhere else (Seattle?) before he lands on the practice squad again.
- Offensive Linemen (9): Jason Peters; Evan Mathis; Jason Kelce; Danny Watkins; Todd Herremans; King Dunlap; Jamaal Jackson; Julian Vandervelde; Reggie Wells………Say hello to Howard Mudd’s revamped lineup. These are the versatile, athletic, zone-blocking protectors of the investment know as Michael Vick. Let’s hope it works. Winston Justice will start the season on the PUP and replace Dunlap when he returns. Ryan Harris signed with the Eagles to join their IR.
- Defensive End (5): Trent Cole; Jason Babin; Darryl Tapp; Daniel Te’o-Nesheim; Philip Hunt…..Jim Washburn’s technique is why Babin’s in Philly and why Tapp and Te’o-Nesheim look much better than last season. Coming from the CFL, not many outside the NovaCare Complex thought Hunt would be this good. Chris Wilson looked good against the Jets, but he’ll be playing elsewhere. A $4.3 million cap hit is too high to keep Juqua Parker, especially if they plan to extend DeSean Jackson.
- Defensive Tackle (5): Mike Patterson; Antonio Dixon; Cullen Jenkins; Derrick Landri; Anthony Hargrove…..The first 3 were locks. Hargrove’s versatility (DE and DT) makes him extremely valuable. Trevor Laws didn’t do enough to beat out Landri, but he’ll quickly sign elsewhere. Cedric Thornton is likely headed to the practice squad.
- Linebacker (6): Casey Matthews; Moises Fokou; Jamar Chaney; Keenan Clayton; Brian Rolle; Akeem Jordan….This was the easiest to predict because there was never any serious competition at linebacker. I hope they prove me wrong but on paper, this is one of the weaker spots on the team. I don’t think Rashad Jeanty did enough to beat out Jordan, whose special teams play and ability to play all 3 LB spots make him very reliable. Don’t be surprised Greg Lloyd somehow ends up with a leg injury, placing him on IR.
- Safety (4): Jared Page; Kurt Coleman; Nate Allen; Jaiquawn Jarrett…..Page and Coleman isn’t a bad starting combo, but I’m sure the Eagles have visions of Allen and Jarrett. Once Allen’s leg is at full strength and Jarrett learns the defense, they’ll be the starting safeties. Colt Anderson is going to be one of those difficult releases. Marlin Jackson will either be released on placed on IR.
- Cornerback (5): Nnamdi Asoumugha; Asante Samuel; Dominique Rogers-Cromartie; Curtis Marsh; Trevard Lindley…..Brandon Hughes has played well in the preseason, but I don’t think he did enough to beat out Lindley. He’s going to be another one of those tough decisions. Joselio Hanson should be traded very soon.
- Special Teams (3): Alex Henery-K; Chas Henry-P; Jon Dorenbos-LS….Like the linebackers, the rookie kickers had no competition. Growing pains is to be expected, but this unit should be intact the next few years.
I’m not ready to anoint this a Super Bowl caliber roster. The offensive line is still a huge concern. Beginning the season with two dome games could be a blessing in disguise if it helps the O-line work harder on their communication and gel. The pressure is on for them to keep Vick upright.
If they don’t allow MV7 to get pummeled and allow him time to make the right decisions, this offense will flourish.
On the defensive side, the pass rush and secondary should make up for what the linebacker group may lack.
While St. Louis won’t be a cakewalk, it’s a good thing they start the regular season against the Rams. They should be able to squeeze out a win while still working on improvements.
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