I realize it is kind of frowned on to make a post here that doesn't disparage the team's starting quarterback or insult another poster, but I figure I'll give it a shot and dip a toe in the water regarding the construction of the Eagles 53 man roster. My premise at the moment is that the Eagles will use more roster spots on defensive players than they will on offense simply because they have more depth there. With three roster spots already accounted for with the longsnapper, kicker, and punter, that leaves fifty to use for the offensive and defensive players. The general rule of thumb is to go with 25 for both offense and defense. But I think it'll be at least 26-24 for defense, and perhaps 27-23. Here are my position-by-position thoughts on how I see the roster shaking out. And bear in mind that I'm operating under the premise that there will be same freedom of movement regarding the practice squad as there has been the past couple of years. By that, I mean that teams will be able to activate two guys off the practice squad on any given week, so long as they don't activate a player more than two times. Here goes:
QUARTERBACK (2): There should be two LOCKS. Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew. If they go for a third on the 53, it will probably only be as a result of either Reid Sinnett or Carson Strong really impressing in the preseason games. Since Sinnett has done so in the past -- last year with the Dolphins when he was a shining star in the preseason -- I'd make him the favorite. But even so, I'm not sure. For now, I'll stick with two and see how the rest of the lineup shakes out.
RUNNING BACK (3): I think this is a position where the Eagles will carry at least four guys that they intend to utilize, but would prefer the fourth to be someone who clears waivers, makes it to their practice squad, and can be elevated as needed. There's also the distinct possibility of Jordan Howard being signed at some point. I almost think that's inevitable, truth be told. But for now, the three LOCKS would be Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott. I imagine that Jason Huntley would be the fourth guy. For now, I'll stick with the three.
WIDE RECEIVERS (5): AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins would be the three LOCKS. Jalen Reagor will probably be the fourth, but there is the chance he could be traded. I kinda don't think so though. The fifth spot would probably come down to Zach Paschal, Greg Ward, John Hightower, or Britain Covey. From what I've heard, Covey has been a pleasant surprise in camp, so I'd give that fifth spot to him. I'd like to see him in the preseason games to get a better feel. Let's leave it five for now. Ward is definitely good enough to play somewhere, so if a team were willing to give us a sixth or seventh round pick, I'd probably bite. Paschal is a Sirianni favorite, so he might be a contender too. Hightower is probably on the outside looking in.
TIGHT END (2): This is where it gets tricky as far as roster construction is concerned. Obviously Dallas Goedert is a LOCK. I really don't think they want to risk losing Grant Calcaterra on waivers like they did when they tried to get cute with sliding defensive end Casey Toohill on the waiver wire only to see him get snagged by Washington. Jack Stoll would be the third tight end, and I'm pretty sure they'd like to keep him. But for now, I'm putting him on waivers, hoping he clears, and then putting him on the practice squad and then activating him for the opener. If need be, they can then put Calcaterra on IR and then put Stoll on the 53. But for now, I'm just going with two.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10): This is almost always a position where the Eagles go heavy. They invest a lot of draft capital at this position and like to keep their guys. Generally speaking, the Eagles eleventh best offensive lineman is better than another team's ninth lineman. Anyway, there are seven LOCKS: Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, and Cam Jurgens. There would be a remote chance that they would trade Dillard, but that seems unlikely to me. A team would have to blow them away with an offer, and if that were to happen, they'd have to cross their fingers and hope that Mailata and Johnson stay healthy all year. I doubt they'd be willing to risk that. So that's seven for sure. The other three spots probably come down to four guys. Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Jack Anderson, and Le'Raven Clark. I guess it depends on the value they see for Anderson being able to play center. They already have two "backup" centers in Jurgens and Dickerson, so that could make Anderson vulnerable. I think Driscoll would be ahead of Clark as the fourth tackle. Opeta has been waived and unclaimed a couple times already so he could be the most likely to clear waivers. Not really sure what to make of the young guys. My guess is that they're battling for practice squad spots rather than active roster spots.
So that's 22 spots I'm using on offense...for now.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3): It's a guarantee that they'll use three roster spots here. Rick Lovato and Jake Elliott are LOCKS. Arryn Siposs is probably going to be the punter again, but I won't say he's a guarantee, as there is always the possibility that they'd claim someone on waivers. There is also the possibility that they don't even put a punter on the 53-man roster right away. They can play roster games for a couple of days and then sign someone a couple of days before the opener. But the Eagles don't tend to get cute like that. Regardless, it's three roster spots.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9): The LOCKS are obvious: Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams. It feels like Tarron Jackson will probably be the fourth defensive end (if you consider Williams a tackle, which I do). My ninth guy is Marlon Tuipulotu, but not really with any conviction. I thought he was terrible in the preseason last year, yet the Eagles kept him on the roster all year long. I believe they thought he was injured and would be healthy a year later. Well, it's now a year later, so let's see what he has. Overall, I'm not convinced this line is as deep as it should be. Granted that Ryan Kerrigan was terrible last year, but going into the season, the thought was that he would be someone useful. And they kept Jackson as the fifth guy. A year later (now), and Jackson is the fourth end and it's the same other guys, including an old timer who's coming off a significant injury. And I'm not sure Jackson is anything special. To me, this position is kinda vulnerable. Of course by the same token, the defensive tackle position figures to be a lot stronger. And there's always Haason Reddick to consider, though I'll list him as a linebacker. But he'll put his hand on the ground from time to time and rush the passer. Defensive end has to be a prime draft need next spring.
LINEBACKER (7): I'd like to go seven deep here given the investment they made in the offseason to upgrade the unit. The LOCKS would be Haason Reddick, T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, and Nakobe Dean. I'm not really a big fan of Shaun Bradley but he's probably the backup middle linebacker (if you count Dean as a swing guy). Davion Taylor probably makes it as the sixth guy, but this is the year he has to prove it. I'm tired of waiting on him. The seventh spot will come down to a battle of late round draft picks Patrick Johnson (last year) and Kyron Johnson (this year). My guess is that they'd prefer to keep the guy they drafted this year.
SECONDARY (11): With the way the roster is currently constructed, they just have to go heavy here again. The LOCKS are Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Anthony Harris, and Marcus Epps. The third safety spot figures to come down to Jaquiski Tartt and K'Von Wallace. My guess is that they'll go with Tartt and cut bait with Wallace, who really hasn't done anything in two years. It wouldn't surprise me if the fourth safety ends up being Andre Chachere because he's good on special teams. The fourth corner will probably be Zech McPherson, though that's far from a sure thing. As for the rest, who the hell really knows? Even at this point, I don't know the difference between Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, Josiah Scott, Mac McCain, Josh Jobe, Mario Goodrich, and Jimmy Moreland. But let's keep the three best of those guys and make it eleven. (These go to eleven!)
So that's 27 defensive guys to go along with the 22 offensive and 3 special teams guys. That gives me one extra guy. I guess for me it comes down to Paschal, Sinnett, and Stoll. Let's go with Stoll for now, so disregard everything I said earlier about trying to sneak him through waivers. But dangit, Sirianni supposedly loves him some Zach Paschal, so maybe they keep him, perhaps instead of Covey. Oh it's a conundrum. Anyway I'm going with Stoll as my 53rd guy.
Injuries between now and cutdown day would obviously change things.
I look forward to the coming weeks to see how this all plays out. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the game against the Jets this Friday night so I'll be forced to watch it on television and be subjected to only getting to see what they want us to see. I'd much prefer being there and being able to watch what I want, when I want.