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Mailbag: A lot of nitty-gritty Eagles roster questions


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Mailbag: A lot of nitty-gritty Eagles roster questions

Jimmy Kempski answers your Eagles questions as the regular season approaches.

PhillyVoice Staff

It's always him.

Earlier this week, we solicited questions for an Eagles mailbag via Twitter. Thank you as always for doing half the work for me. This is Part I of a two-part mailbag, and it will focus on some of the nitty-gritty roster stuff. Part II will be be a little more fun, I think. Let's just get right to it.

Question from @BigsWins: What are the chances four tight ends stay on the roster? Obviously they just traded for Albert Okwuegbunam, so who is the odd man out? I can’t see them keeping four.

By my count, there are 14 teams that are carrying four tight ends after 53-man cutdowns. There are nine additional teams that employ three tight ends plus a fullback. So it's really not that out of the ordinary. As a team that likes to run its share of two- and three-tight end sets, the Eagles are a logical team to carry four.

As for Calcaterra, I think the team likes him, and I don't think his roster spot is in danger.

Question from @AndrewD4133: Pronounce Albert O's name, Jimmy. 

I'll let him do it.

Question from @cnnross: Is there another shoe to drop with this punting situation? Or is our punter going to be Arryn Siposs as a PS call up for three weeks?

This question was asked before player workouts hit the daily NFL transaction report, but the Eagles worked out three punters:


That's Blake *Gillikin*, who is probably better than the other two punters (O'Donnell, Wadman) above. It's also worth noting that the Steelers waived Braden Mann, who the Eagles tried to claim earlier this spring, but were beaten out on the waiver order. The Steelers had originally kept two punters on their initial 53, trying to get someone to trade for Mann. When they eventually waived him after nobody bit, nobody even put in a claim on him, lol. Anyway, Mann could be coming in for a workout, too.


As for Siposs, he's probably just a placeholder on the practice squad in the event another punter doesn't prove to be better, which would be pretty disappointing given that being better than Siposs is a pretty low bar.

Question from @nfl_irish: Who are the most likely trade/cut candidates from the 53-man roster? Assuming there will be some changes if the Eagles sign a decent punter 🤞or another player.

We had noted earlier this summer that the Eagles didn't have any obvious trade candidates like in past offseasons with guys like Jalen Reagor, Andre Dillard, Zach Ertz, etc., but that if one guy did make some sense it was Derek Barnett. And sure enough...



If by "should have trade value," Fowler meant "shouldn't have trade value," then I agree. 

"Tremendous respect for Derek and the player and person that he is and what he brings to this football team," Howie Roseman said. "Love having him here. That's why we bring him back. 

"That's a position for us which you see with the 53-man roster, it's a priority. So, we're going to keep as many of those guys we possibly can. Last year we got in a little bit of a bind and had to give up a pick and had to sign guys in the middle of the year. So, for us having those guys lets us sleep a little bit better at night, and Derek is certainly one of those guys."

Nick Sirianni was also complimentary. 

"I just think he has had a great camp and so excited that he is a part of this football team," he said. "I love his toughness, his edge, and his ability that he brings to this team every day."

Anyway, Barnett likely isn't going anywhere. The Eagles have demonstrated that they like him. Meanwhile, he has 26 career penalties and 24 career sacks, so it's hard to see who would give up anything of value to get him.

Question from @StokesTheWriter: After losing special teams members to injuries, and having no clear punter or punt returner on the roster are the Eagles set to have the worst special teams units of any contender in the NFL?

Britain Covey survived waivers and should be a Week 1 call up, and whoever the Eagles eventually sign to be their punter will likely be an upgrade over Siposs. As for the injuries, the Eagles lost Shaun Bradley and Zech McPhearson. In my opinion, Christian Elliss was an upgrade over Bradley last season, and I think that Nolan Smith and Sydney Brown have a chance to be excellent core special teamers in their rookies seasons because of their respective desires to play as much as possible, and their outstanding athleticism.

Jake Elliott aside, special teams were a weakness last season and it remains a legitimate concern, but I don't think their personnel is worse.

Question from @zeutsch: It seems clear that the idea is to take a lot of shots on low-cost, high-upside outside CBs because the starters (especially Darius Slay) are aging. Based on the contracts and such, what do you think will happen there over the next few years? What's the plan? Slay retires? Traded?

They've been throwing a lot of young corners at the wall and seeing if one would stick for a while now. Last year in camp they had guys like Tay Gowan, Mac McCain, Kary Vincent, Josh Blackwell, Josh Jobe, etc. Jobe looks like he might pan out. We'll see.

This year it was Jobe, Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks, Mario Goodrich, Mekhi Garner, Greedy Williams, etc. Varying levels of success there. They haven't hit big on that strategy yet, but it makes sense to try.

As for Slay, your guess is as good as mine. Last year he started out hot and then faded. Not to give a boring, obvious answer here, but how well he plays in 2023 will determine whether he's still here in 2024.

Question from @kimikavery: The media and fans have glossed over the fact that Isaac Seumalo is gone. Do you think the Eagles have improved, stayed the same, or gotten worse at RG? Also do you honestly feel their offensive line depth is as good as last year?

I'll respectfully disagree that the media and fan base gloss over anything, much less the loss of a good starter. That said, Jurgens had a promising camp but it's probably unrealistic to expect that he'll be as good as Seumalo was last season when he hit his prime.

The Eagles' offensive line depth is good relative to other teams around the league. Locally, we've gotten used to the Eagles having a loaded offensive line and a lot of playable guys behind them. Is the depth as good as it was a year ago? No, probably not. But they have a couple of versatile players in Tyler Steen and Jack Driscoll who I think are capable of filling in. Most teams have one or more obvious glaring holes in their starting lineups, much less concerns over depth.

Question from @stevebarnes72: With the Eagles being light at WR and heavy at TE, will we see more 12 personnel? You could argue when Pascal was in they were doing this last year in all but name.

When Dallas Goedert was out for five games last year, Tyree Jackson was active on gameday and was their TE3, but Sirianni definitely cut down on their three-tight end set looks in those games. I think that having the fourth tight end on the roster just insures that they don't have to chuck those plays out of the playbook should one of their tight ends go down. But I don't think it signals an uptick in three-tight end sets when everyone is healthy.

I do see your point on the Pascal snaps, but I don't think the team necessarily looked at his snaps that way.


Question from @JoelEmbiidsSon: It’s probably hard to guess but who do you think the inactives will be Week 1?

First, I'll say that Britain Covey gets called up, and Tanner McKee will be the "emergency quarterback." I think the six inactives will be TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Fred Johnson, Patrick Johnson, Moro Ojomo, Kelee Ringo, and Eli Ricks.

Question from @TrustDaProcess8: Give us your very early prediction for the Eagles' 2024 1st round draft pick. Gotta be an OT, right? 

Yep, I think OT is the most likely position the Eagles will address with a high pick last year (a) because they would probably like to start developing an eventual replacement for Lane Johnson, and (b) it looks like the 2024 draft will be very strong at OT.

The two players currently projected to be late first round picks who I think fit the athletic profiles the Eagles covet are Kingsley Suamataia (BYU) and Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma). Spoiler: We will be profiling a ton of offensive tackles during our prospects series this year.


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