Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Football season is finally here! Eagles players will be reporting to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday, July 24th, with practice starting the next day. Back after the NFL draft was completed in the spring and all the undrafted free agents were signed, I took a try at projecting the Eagles 2019 roster. Of course since that time the Eagles have only had a few minicamps and OTAs that fans didn't really get a chance to see with their own eyes.
Now right before the team gets together for the much harder practices, I changed my projections slightly on who will be on the 53-man roster for when the Eagles face the Redskins at the Linc in Week 1. Take a look:
Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Clayton Thorson
This is an obvious one, as the team wants Sudfeld as the backup to Carson Wentz. Thorson wouldn't make it through waivers and even if he did he wouldn't stay on the practice squad for long. 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 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 Shelton Gibson is the favorite to grab that spot. For now I see the team only keeping five receivers though. Maybe Howie Roseman could even trade Gibson for a late-round pick or swap him for a player at a different position for a possible upgrade.
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.
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 proves to be a legitimate prospect.
Defensive tackle (5): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Trayvon Hester, Hassan Ridgeway
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 (5): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller
This could change if Chris Long decides to come back, but if not this should be what the group looks like. Graham and Barnett will take a majority of the snaps, with Curry rotating in as well. Sweat and Miller will battle in Training Camp to see which of the two will get more snaps in 2019, but all five of these players should be active on gamedays.
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 seems high on Fort and there is 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 if Fort or Edwards underperforms during Training Camp 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.
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.
Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Blake Countess, 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, so Sendejo will likely get cut so the team doesn't lose a potential pick. The talent drop-off wouldn't be too drastic between Sendejo and Sullivan anyway. And if depth becomes a problem the team could always revert to Avonte Maddox switching from corner to safety again, or just bring Sendejo back later on.
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.