Another Final 53-Man Roster Projection

With every team required to trim their rosters to 53 players later this afternoon, here’s my two-cents at how the Eagles final roster could look.

Quarterbacks: (3) Michael Vick, Vince Young, Mike Kafka

No surprises here.

Running Backs: (4) LeSean McCoy, Ronnie Brown, Dion Lewis, Owen Schmitt

Dion Lewis was head and shoulders above his competition for the third-string running back position. He was both explosive and elusive, and if he can develop his skills in the blitz pickup, he could be a real weapon on the offense someday.

Eldra Buckley is the notable cut from this group. He’s a fierce runner, and a special teams ace, but there just isn’t any justification for the Eagles to keep four running backs.

Wide Receivers: (5) DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Steve Smith

The improving health of Steve Smith means that Chad Hall’s days as an Eagle are likely finished. Hall is a scrappy, tenacious player who will do anything the coaching staff asks of him, but keeping him as a sixth receiver is a luxury not a necessity. There’s a place for Hall in the NFL, but it probably isn’t in Philadelphia.

Tight Ends: (2) Brent Celek, Clay Harbor

Donald Lee is a decent blocker, and had some nice moments against the Jets, but I don’t think it will be enough to justify the team keeping a third tight end.

Offensive Line: (10) Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, King Dunlap, Julian Vandervelde, Jamaal Jackson, Reggie Wells, Mike McGlynn

This is the toughest unit on the team to project. There are the five starters, and then there is some question about who stays as reserves. Dunlap and Vandervelde have shown enough the preseason that they are locks. It would be hard to believe that Jamaal Jackson doesn’t make it to provide veteran insurance for Kelce.

A lot of people think it’s a done deal that Mike McGlynn gets released, but I’m not so sure. Todd Herremans moving to tackle may have been good news for McGlynn, creating a little more of a need for depth at guard. If Herremans was still at guard, the Eagles would go with Mathis and Vandervelde as their backup guards.

Another possibility is that McGlynn still gets released, and the Eagles bring in another “Howard Mudd-type” offensive lineman through a trade, or pick one up off of another team’s final cuts.

Reggie Wells actually held his own at right tackle during the preseason, and I think he could make the roster to start the season until Winston Justice is ready to come off of the PUP list.

Notable cuts are Austin Howard and Ryan Harris. Harris has been sidelined since the first preseason game with a back injury. After experiencing back problems with Shawn Andrews several years ago, how can the Eagles keep a roster spot for a tackle with back problems now?

Howard made the team last season with an impressive training camp, but doesn’t fit what Howard Mudd is looking for.

Defensive Line: (10) Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, Darryl Tapp, Anthony Hargrove, Derek Landri, Trevor Laws, Phillip Hunt

The Eagles need to decide if Juqua Parker can contribute anymore or not. Parker was slowed by injuries last season, and has missed most of the preseason with a bothersome calf injury. The presence of Anthony Hargrove could be Parker’s undoing. He’s a proven veteran, capable of playing as both an end and a tackle.

Derek Landri has been impressive throughout the preseason with his high motor, and it’d be hard to imagine the Eagles cutting former 2nd round pick Trevor Laws after the improvement he made last season without giving him a chance to work with Jim Washburn.

Phillip Hunt has constantly been around the football in the preseason, has good strength, and I think he finds his way onto the final roster.

For a third round pick, Daniel Teo-Neshiem has been a complete disaster. He was outplayed by nearly every other end in camp, including veteran Chris Wilson.Yes, he has shown some improvement in this preseason, but there just isn’t any justification to keep him around over a guy like Hunt.

Linebackers: (6) Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, Mosies Fokou, Keenan Clayton, Brian Rolle, Akeem Jordan

Brian Rolle stood out enough during the preseason to secure a spot on the roster. Akeem Jordan plays all three positions, but he doesn’t play any of them particularly well. He is a decent insurance option who also can help on special teams. I think Jordan should make the team unless the Eagles find a better veteran option on the waiver wire.

Cornerbacks: (6) Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Hughes, Trevard Lindley, Curtis Marsh

Whether he gets traded or released, Joselio Hanson won’t be on this team. The Eagles won’t pay him several million dollars to be their fourth cornerback, and they have three young corners that they feel really good about in Hughes, Lindley, and Marsh.

Hughes has had an excellent camp, and I think he’s forced his way onto the final roster.

Safeties: (4) Kurt Coleman, Jarrod Page, Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett

The shame here is that there wasn’t any room for Colt Anderson. He’s a great special teamer, and showed competency as a backup safety, but like several other players, he’s caught in a numbers game.

Specialists: (3) Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Chas Henry

No surprises here.

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