Analyzing the Philadelphia Eagles 53 Man Roster

    The Philadelphia Eagles now have their final 53 man roster. Barring trades, and players that may be picked up off waivers the team that will go into the season has been determined. This was Chip Kelly’s first opportunity as an NFL coach to go through a process like cutting players. It’s a lot different making cuts in the NFL than in college because the players that are being let go are players who were some of the best at their positions in college

Quarterback:

Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley

    There were no surprises to anyone at how the quarterback spot turned out. With all three of these quarterbacks healthy, neither Dennis Dixon nor G.J. Kinne stood a chance at making the roster. The Eagles have a dynamic quarterback in Vick and two much needed backups in both Foles and Barkley.

Running Back:

Lesean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk

    Another position with very little doubt as to how it would turn out. Especially with Felix Jones gone, there was really only one reasonable way this would turn out if all the running backs were healthy. Matthew Tucker performed well in the preseason but was not at nearly the level of the three running backs who made the roster.

Wide Receivers:

Desean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl

Once Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn went down due to injury, a lot of the question about who would make the team at wide receiver was taken out. The first three players at this position, Jackson, Cooper, and Avant, were locks to make the roster. Damaris Johnson was also an extremely likely prospect because of his speed and agility, a staple of the Chip Kelly offense. The 5th and potentially 6th spots were up for grabs among a number of players. It seemed like Russell Shepard and Greg Salas were the favorites for that spot or two because of their good preseason performances. Jeff Maehl, an Oregon Duck, stole the position away in the last game with a great showing, racking up 8 catches for 61 yards. His main advantage in earning the role was likely his link to Chip Kelly and familiarity in the offense.

Tight End:

Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz, Emil Igwenagu

tight end was probably the most shocking position that came out of the roster cuts. The first three choices were known to be future weapons in the Chip Kelly offense but there was much debate as to whether or not a fourth tight end would be kept. The consensus was that if a fourth tight end were going to be kept, it would be because Clay Harbor had too much upside to be let go. I think that nearly everyone was shocked when they heard that the Eagles kept a fourth tight end that was not Clay Harbor. Emil Igwenagu spent most of last season on the practice squad, and most people only knew him for his name. Once considered however, his position on this offense isn’t as shocking as it seems. Igwenagu came to the Eagles last year out of the University of Massachusetts as a fullback/tight end. That is exactly the type of player that Kelly likes. He doesn’t keep fullbacks on the team but often lines the tight ends up in the backfield.

Offensive Lineman:

Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde, Matt Tobin

The offensive line was hard to predict beyond the starting five. Danny Watkins, the Eagles first round pick two years ago was cut and will likely forever be labeled one of the biggest busts in the Eagles history. Julian Vandervelde, however, who plays the same position and was taken in the same draft four rounds later, has shockingly held on to a roster spot. Throughout his two years on the Eagles he has had a lot of bad reviews on his play, yet has been able to cling to the roster through his versatility. Vandervelde was likely kept because he was able to convert to a backup center over the offseason and now can fill in effectively in every spot but the tackle positions.

Defensive Line:

Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Bennie Logan, Damion Square, Clifton Geathers

There were no surprises in the roster at the defensive line. through the change to a 3-4 defense a lot of players went up and down the depth charts from where they were. For players like Cedric Thornton, who is now a starter, and Vinny Curry it helped improve their position in the organization a lot. Curry was prepared to play in a 3-4 defense last year, and when he was drafted by the Eagles he struggled to convert back to a 4-3 player, subsequently he did not even dress for most games.

Linebackers:

Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho, Casey Matthews

    The new look linebacker squad includes a combination of last years defensive ends and last years linebackers. by reducing all the linebackers from last years squad into just the two inside linebacker spots it has really pushed out many of the 4-3 outside linebackers. One of the linebackers from last year’s squad that looked like he was going to get pushed back was former Oregon Duck Casey Matthews. Casey Matthews somehow made the team, beating out Chris McCoy. McCoy had one of the best pre-seasons in the league and really made a name for himself at linebacker. McCoy was tied for fourth in the league with three and a half sacks. He also racked up eight tackles while he was on the field.

Cornerback and Safety:

Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Jordan Poyer, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman

    The Eagles opted to keep a lot of players in the secondary. They kept everyone that was expected to stay and more. At cornerback they kept six players, which gives them the starters, three backups, and Brandon Boykin playing the slot corner role. they also kept five safeties on the roster, including Colt Anderson who is mostly a special teams player. All four of the other Safeties on the roster still have a shot at starting roles and we could see all four take a starting role at some point during the season. Nate Allen is still listed on the roster as the starting safety but has no room for error with Earl Wolff pushing for the spot.

Special Teams:

Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Donnie Jones

None of these players are surprises because going into the final roster cuts none of them had other players in their roles pushing for a spot. The only player whose job was ever in jeopardy was Donnie Jones, who had to beat out the young leg, Brad Wing for the job.