The preseason if officially halfway done after the completion of last night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before Training Camp got underway I made an initial 53-man prediction. I've made some slight changes since then, so take a look at who I think will make the team after hearing Training Camp reports and watching two games:
Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Clayton Thorson
This is an obvious one, as the team wants Sudfeld as the backup to Carson Wentz even with him recovering from wrist surgery. Kessler was slightly better than Thorson in Week 1 of the preseason, but a concussion early in the Jacksonville game led to Thorson having an entire game full of reps to improve, which is exactly what he did. Thorson might now make it through waivers if the Eagles released him, and even if he did he wouldn't stay on the practice squad for long as another team would likely poach him to stash him for 2020. If he doesn't end up on IR with a mysterious injury, he'll be inactive for the entire season barring any injuries to Wentz or Sudfeld.
Running back (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles
This could end up becoming a running back by committee by the middle or end of the season, but starting in Week 1 it will likely be Jordan Howard getting the vast majority of the carries. Miles Sanders and Corey Clement will be sprinkled in as change of pace backs, and Darren Sproles will be in for passing downs as a receiving option or a blocker for Wentz. With Wendell Smallwood no longer being eligible for a practice squad, the Eagles might try to trade him for a conditional late round pick if their running backs remain healthy and they see a team in need of a running back. The Eagles will hope that Adams makes it through waivers and they can keep him on the practice squad for the entire season. If that is able to happen, Adams would be the first player brought in if any of the four 'backs get hurt during the season.
Wide receiver (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins
Based on potential, this could possibly be one of the best wide receiver corps in Eagles history. If they go with six receivers, then Marken Michel might have the edge after making a big time play against the Titans. For now I see the team only keeping five receivers though.
Tight end (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers
This is probably the easiest group to project outside of quarterbacks and the specialists. This was supposed to be last year's group, but an injury in the preseason cost Rodgers half the season. If they keep four tight ends then Joshua Perkins would be that depth tight end option.
Offensive line (10): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Matt Pryor, Stefen Wisniewski, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata
After the draft the Eagles had some question marks with their guard depth, but bringing back Wisniewski helped cure those worries. Now if Brooks were to miss some time with his achilles injury rehab, the team might slide Seumalo to right guard and put Wisniewski at his more natural position of left guard. Wisniewski also gives the Eagles a decent backup at center, in case Kelce were to miss any snaps. Vaitai could be a trade candidate if Mailata keeps improving. Pryor's flexibility as a guard and tackle will allow him to beat Nate Herbig and Suavities Opeta.
Defensive tackle (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Trayvon Hester
A season after not having much depth outside of Fletcher Cox, the 2019 Eagles seem primed to have a great season in the middle of the trenches. Jackson and Cox will team up to overpower offensive lines, while a healthy Jernigan will provide as a rotational player to help give the other two a breather on a few plays. Hester was a great late-season addition last season, and he'll look to improve as a potential rotational guy as well.
Defensive end (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller, Daeshon Hall
Graham and Barnett will take a majority of the snaps, with Curry rotating in as well. Sweat and Miller will battle the rest of the preseason to see which of the two will get more snaps in 2019, but all five of these players should be active on gamedays. Daeshon Hall is making too much noise for the Eagles to waive him and not let him on the 53-man roster. If Roseman doesn't want six defensive ends on the roster maybe he can find a team to do a one-for-one player swap with and the Eagles can try to upgrade at another position.
Linebacker (5): Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown, Kamu Grugier-Hill, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards
This one is a little harder to project. Nathan Gerry has been a contributor the past two seasons on special teams and occasionally on defense as well. He could very well take Fort's or Edwards' spot on the roster, but the team is high on Fort and there was a lot of buzz surrounding the signing of Edwards as an undrafted free agent, so this is what the roster should be for now. We'll have to wait for the final two preseason games to see if Fort or Edwards underperform for Gerry to take advantage of. Another name to keep an eye on is Paul Worrilow, who has also been known to be a good contributor on special teams. Grugier-Hill's injury will change things. The team can either store him away on the active roster and keep him inactive each week until he is ready, or place him on IR and use on of the two return designations on him, which will allow him to return Week 9. If they use IR, then Gerry and Worrilow will be battling for that final spot, with the upper hand given to Gerry.
Cornerback (6): Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Cre'Von LeBlanc, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas
This should be easy to project because these are the six best corners on the roster. However, it will be hard to project who actually plays the most in 2019. Darby should have a starting position locked if he is fully healthy, but then it's murky from there. Jim Schwartz has had a love affair with Jalen Mills for a few years, but last season Schwartz might have liked what he seen in any of the others to maybe kick Mills out of a starting role. The wild card comes in to play though thanks to Cre'Von LeBlanc suffering a Lisfranc sprain the first week of Training Camp. He could be out anywhere from mid-September until November. If he recovers on the faster end of the spectrum the team will likely keep him on the 53 man roster and just list him as inactive each week until he heals. If it seems like he is slowly coming along the team could put him on IR and then use one of their two designations to bring him back after eight weeks. If he is placed on IR, then Orlando Scandrick likely makes the roster in his place.
Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan
The team signed Andrew Sendejo this spring, but if he stays on the roster the Eagles will potentially lose a compensatory pick in 2020. The team will need as many draft picks as possible in the future due to Carson Wentz's mega-contract kicking in next season that will hinder the ability to sign free agents, but Sendejo impressed in the first preseason game so it might be best just to keep him around and lose one of those comp picks. Jonathan Cyprien is still in the mix as well.
Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
The Eagles didn't bring in any competition for Elliott this offseason, so this won't be hard to solve, these are literally the only three specialists on the team and they will make the roster barring any injuries or suspensions.