As the final cuts were made today, 5 days before the kickoff of the NFL season, 53 players remain on the rosters. For the Eagles, there were a few surprises of players that didn’t make it, and the make-up of their 53 man roster based on positional needs is a little bit confusing. There were some interesting decisions that were made, and a lot to analyze as we head into week 1.
Injuries Will REALLY Hinder This Squad: The Eagles decided to cut Matt McGloin, the former Penn State product after clearly underwhelming throughout the preseason. However, they are now left with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, who has missed the entire preseason with an undisclosed injury. Also, the Eagles only have eight active offensive linemen on their roster, so they better hope that the starters can stay healthy.
Running Backs Galore: In another surprise, both rookies Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement have made the roster, putting the Eagles’ RB total at 5 (!!!). That’s a lot of guys who want to get carries, and it doesn’t seem that with Pederson’s offensive scheme, that they will all be happy. LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood were all locks to make it, so to add one more seemed solid. Surprisingly, they used two of those spots to add the rookie RBs.
Strongest w/ Depth, Weakest w/ No Depth: Seems like a problem. The Birds have a very impressive and deep defensive line, and kept 10 roster spots open for them. They will be able to rotate extremely well, and in case of any injuries, players like Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls should be able to step in. That secondary though…yikes. Four out of the five cornerbacks are newcomers (excluding Jalen Mills), including two acquired in the past three weeks (Ronald Darby and Dexter McDougle). It would be a surprise to many for them five to hold those positions all year.
It’s Time for the LBs: No real surprise of the top four LBs coming out of preseason to be Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Najee Goode. Doesn’t it seem that they are due? Hicks and Kendricks have both broken out at different times, and Bradham has shown flashes. In year two under Jim Schwartz, hopefully they can hold up as well as the four defenders that are standing in front of them.
Lot of positional battles, even to start the year: Almost as important to the 53 man roster is the depth chart for week 1, because there are a ton of tough calls the coaches will have to make. Vinny Curry or standout rookie Derek Barnett at starting DE? Which of the top three RBs will see the field the most? Is Nelson Agholor good enough as a slot receiver in this league? These all will be answered in a short 8 days.