Monday, September 26, 2022

Eagles final 53-man roster projection: Does Devon Allen deserve a roster spot? Safety picture still puzzling

Deadline day is approaching, as the Philadelphia Eagles will have to submit to the league their initial 53-man roster heading into the 2022 season. The 53-man roster deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, with numerous cuts being reported over the next few days (the Eagles will have to release 27 players).

Which players stood out in the final week of camp and the preseason finale to warrant a late push for roster consideration? With the uncertainty at safety and the back of the wide receiver position, the Eagles will have some tough decisions to make over the next few days. 

Here’s the final 53-man roster projection after observing training camp and all three preseason games. There are a couple changes from our initial projection from last Monday, which are pointed out below. 

Let’s see how many of these picks are correct when the Eagles unveil their 53-man roster this week. 

Quarterback (2): Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew

The Eagles have needs at other positions here, and some more deserving candidates for roster spots. Sinnett had an opportunity to cement the No. 3 quarterback job, but a poor preseason finale capped off a subpar second half of camp. Philadelphia can afford to cut ties.

As for Carson Strong: Not coming in immediately in a preseason game where the Eagles were losing 41-3 tells everything you need to know. Strong should be a candidate for the practice squad, but he’s nowhere near ready for a NFL active roster. 

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Running back (3): Miles SandersBoston Scott, Kenny Gainwell

  • Previous projection: Sanders, Scott, Gainwell

No changes here as these three are the running backs the Eagles will have in Week 1. Jason Huntley was passed by Britain Covey and Quez Watkins at kick returner in the preseason finale, so his fate appears sealed. Huntley did have a strong game at running back, so it’s possible another team could give him a shot. 

Kennedy Brooks is a practice squad candidate. 

Wide receiver (5): A.J. BrownDeVonta SmithQuez WatkinsZach PascalJalen Reagor

  • Previous projection: Brown, Smith, Watkins, Pascal, Reagor, Deon Cain

This will be one of the toughest decisions the Eagles have to make. Philadelphia can easily keep six receivers here, but which one of Cain, Britain Covey, or Devon Allen make the roster?

Allen has made a late push for a roster spot with his touchdown catch in the preseason win over the Browns and made a few excellent special teams plays in Saturday’s loss to the Dolphins. The Eagles will be hard pressed to release Allen in fear he’ll get claimed by another team that can afford to take a chance on him. If Allen made the 53-man roster as the sixth receiver, it wouldn’t be surprising in the least. 

Reagor makes this team because it costs more to cut him than keep him. If the Eagles can find trade partners for Reagor, they’ll certainly entertain the offers. Cain and Covey can be stashed on the practice squad and be ready for a in-season call up — same with Greg Ward

For now, these are the set five but that can change in the coming days. 

Tight End (3): Dallas GoedertJack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra

  • Previous projection: Goedert, Stoll, Calcaterra

No changes here, these are the three tight ends the Eagles will suit up for Week 1. Calcaterra is showcasing he can be a reliable No. 2 pass catching tight end while Stoll is an excellent blocker. 

Calcaterra needs some work as a blocker, but the Eagles like what he adds to the offense. This is a young group. 

Offensive Line (10): Jordan MailataLandon DickersonJason KelceIsaac SeumaloLane JohnsonAndre DillardSua OpetaJack DriscollCam Jurgens, Jack Anderson

  • Previous projection: Mailata, Dickerson, Kelce, Seumalo, Johnson, Dillard, Opeta, Driscoll, Jurgens

Given the quarterback position going down from three to two and wide receiver down from six to five, there’s a spot available for Anderson to make this team. Anderson’s value is his versatility, playing left guard, right guard, and center this preseason. From what the Eagles have shown since Jeff Stoutland became offensive line coach, they really like offensive linemen that can play multiple positions. 

Anderson makes this team, being on the roster bubble all of camp. He’s shown enough to warrant a spot on this team. Opeta was also good this preseason and in the joint practices, so it makes sense for the Eagles to keep both. 

Defensive End/Edge Rusher/SAM Linebacker (7): Brandon GrahamHaason ReddickJosh SweatDerek BarnettTarron JacksonKyron Johnson, Patrick Johnson

  • Previous projection: Graham, Reddick, Sweat, Barnett, Jackson, K. Johnson

No reason to replace Kyron Johnson with Patrick Johnson here. The Eagles have a spot available to keep seven, with Patrick Johnson as the roster lock and Kyron Johnson on the bubble. Patrick Johnson had an excellent camp, culminated with a sack in the preseason finale against the Dolphins. He provides valuable depth to an already deep position. 

Reminder, these players will be primarily rushing the passer in Jonathan Gannon’s defense, although he’ll have Reddick and Johnson back in coverage. Johnson is also a good special teamer and has value in kickoff and punt coverage — plus the Eagles used one of their five draft picks on him. He makes the team with the spot available. 

Defensive Tackle (5)Fletcher CoxJavon HargraveJordan DavisMilton WilliamsMarlon Tuipulotu

  • Previous projection: Cox, Hargrave, Davis, Williams, Tuipulotu

The Eagles are set at defensive tackle here, starting with the rotation of Cox, Hargrave, and Davis. Williams can rotate on the inside and outside and Tuipulotu caps off a strong summer with a roster spot.

Marvin Wilson makes this team most years, but Tuipulotu played well throughout camp. There should be a spot on the practice squad for him. 

MIKE and WILL Linebacker (5): T.J. EdwardsKyzir WhiteNakobe DeanDavion TaylorShaun Bradley

  • Previous projection: Edwards, White, Dean, Taylor, Bradley

No changes here, but it’s fair to wonder whether Taylor played well enough to deserve a roster spot. A former third-round pick that has been a developmental linebacker, the Eagles give Taylor another year of development — buried on the depth chart. 

This position is also deep, but it hinges on the development of Dean. Edwards is the front runner to start at the MIKE in Week 1. 

Cornerback (5): Darius SlayJames BradberryAvonte MaddoxZech McPhearsonJosh Jobe

  • Previous projection: Slay, Bradberry, Maddox, McPhearson, Jobe

The top four spots are roster locks and Jobe separated himself from the pack in the final weeks of camp, playing well enough to warrant a roster spot (the elbow injury shouldn’t affect his chances). There’s room here for Tay Gowan as well, who was excellent in coverage in the preseason games. 

With the uncertainty of the safety position, the Eagles won’t be able to keep six cornerbacks. Gowan could get claimed by another team, but the Eagles hope he can land on the practice squad. 

Safety (5): Marcus EppsAnthony Harris, Jaquiski TarttJosiah Scott, Reed Blankenship

This is a decision that will linger to the final minutes with the Eagles front office, as no one the Eagles wanted to seize the safety job did it in a convincing manner. Blankenship plays his way onto the roster with a strong preseason, being in position to make plays in the box and perform well in single-high coverage. With the uncertainty here, Blankenship is worth taking a chance on. 

The Eagles decide to keep Tarett and guarantee his salary due to Chachere and Wallace not winning their jobs. Wallace looked lost on that deep pass to Tyreek Hill Saturday night, culminating an up-and-down training camp. Chachere is worth keeping around on special teams, but Scott adds more value as a cornerback and safety — and is more likely to be claimed off waivers. 

No reason to be comfortable with Tartt either, but he has started in the league and has experience at a position that needs it badly. Philadelphia may be far from done trying to upgrade at safety, so this position is in flux over the next few days.

If the Eagles cut Tartt and keep Chachere or Wallace, the guaranteed salary plays a major role in the decision. Tartt didn’t have a great camp and didn’t challenge for a starting job like he was brought in to do. That’s a problem. 

Specialists (3)Jake Elliott (K), Arryn Siposs (P), Rick Lovato (LS)

  • Previous projection: Elliott, Siposs, Lovato

Nothing changes here. These are the three that will have those spots for Week 1. 

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