Mon, 28 Sep 2020

Full-squad look: Checking in on Eagles' team roster

Philadelphia Eagles
06 Aug 2020, 19:12 GMT+10

There is no such thing as a depth chart, and the following is not to suggest one. Instead, with the full team at the NovaCare Complex for Training Camp, 2020, it is a guide of the Philadelphia Eagles, position by position. The daily routine consists of meetings, both virtual and in person (physically distanced, of course), treatment in the athletic training room, strength and conditioning work, and a 60-minute walkthrough/jog through.

And that's it.

The on-field, 11-on-11, in-pads work doesn't start until August 17. The Eagles' regular season starts at Washington on September 13. Let that sink in for just a moment.

Anyway, here is a position-to-position guide just so you're in the know for when it all starts to come into focus.

QUARTERBACK

There are four of them here - Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts, and Kyle Lauletta. And you know how the rotation works - Wentz, Sudfeld, Hurts, and Lauletta. With an expanded practice squad (now 16 players), it's going to be interesting to see how many teams keep an extra arm who knows the offense in the building.

RUNNING BACK

Second-year man Miles Sanders is, well, the man. We're all excited to see him as the workhorse back in this offense. Boston Scott is an excellent change-of-pace back. Corey Clement has a chance to make an impact in the rotation, as does second-year man Elijah Holyfield. After that, the Eagles are looking to develop rookies Michael Warren and Adrian Killins, a wisp of a back who is going to be fun to watch in the "live" portion of practice later this month.

WIDE RECEIVER

There are 10 of them on the roster at the moment, including veteran Alshon Jeffery, who is on the Active/PUP list. Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are the leaders in the room, and Greg Ward returns after playing well out of the slot late last season. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is looking for a big bump in his second year. Jalen Reagor, the No. 1 pick, headlines a three-man draft class (John Hightower, Quez Watkins the others). Rob Davis and Deontay Burnett are back after playing down the stretch for the Eagles last season. Manasseh Bailey is a non-drafted rookie from Morgan State who will have to make the most of his summer reps.

TIGHT END

The Eagles usually carry three tights ends; they have five on the roster now including Caleb Wilson, added on Tuesday. Wilson had a fine career at UCLA, is a pass-catching player who the Eagles liked from what they saw of him in the 2019 preseason when, with Washington, he caught three passes for 23 yards and a touchdown against Arizona. He can stretch defenses. Can he learn the offense quickly and earn a roster spot or a practice squad spot? You can pretty much ink in Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Joshua Perkins, who showed his versatility last season. Rookie Noah Togiai from Oregon State is the here to make a push as well.

OFFENSIVE LINE

There are going to be some tough decisions here as the Eagles work their way down to nine or 10 linemen on the 53-man roster (with the option for 55 by promoting practice squad players) and (up-to) 16-man practice squad. You know the five starters, left to right, Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson. Who are the backups? Matt Pryor seems like a sure thing. Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta were here last season. Jordan Mailata faces a crucial third summer. Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho are 2020 draft picks. Casey Tucker knows his way around the NFL just a bit. There are some new faces and new challenges, but Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland is the master of making the most of his players.

DEFENSIVE LINE

With 15 players on the current roster, new Defensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Matt Burke has a lot to sift through between now and the roster cutdown. Included on the list is Matt Leo, who is a roster exception as an International Pathways Program player. The team traditionally keeps nine to 10 defensive linemen on the active roster. This is potentially a dominating group with the addition of tackle Javon Hargrave in free agency and the return of tackle Malik Jackson after he went down in Week 1 last season. With Fletcher Cox and Hassan Ridgeway, along with Anthony Rush and Bruce Hector, the Eagle are loaded inside. Raequan Williams is a rookie from Michigan State who will have to make the most of his camp reps.

On the edge, the Eagles have Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett returning as starters. Second-year man Shareef Miller needs to make a big jump after a quiet rookie campaign. Josh Sweat had good production last season and should bounce even more as he's healthier now than he's been in years and years. Joe Ostman looked so good on the field last spring and early in camp before he went down with a knee injury that ended his quest to make the roster. Casey Toohill was highly productive at Stanford and has to transition from standup pass rusher to hand-in-the-dirt end. And then there's Genard Avery, a fastball-kind of player whom the Eagles acquired in a trade last season. His playing time was sporadic, so let's see the plan the team has for him now that he's been in the system.

LINEBACKER

Speed was the emphasis in the offseason for this group as the Eagles signed Jatavis Brown in free agency and drafted Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley to join holdovers like Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, and Duke Riley who earned playing time in 2019, Gerry especially. Alex Singleton bumped up from the practice squad last year and looks for more in 2020. Non-drafted rookie Dante Olson from Montana will look to crack a group that usually has five to six players on the active roster.

CORNERBACK

Here is an interesting group to watch, headlined by standout veteran Darius Slay, whom the Eagles traded for in the offseason. He's the alpha of this group with three straight Pro Bowls on his resume from his time in Detroit. He's a starter on one side. Who is the other starter? It could come from a group that includes veterans Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and Craig James. Somebody needs to step up. Maddox has the most experience inside and outside, but Douglas has had substantial playing time and has done well, and Jones came on late last season.

Free agent-signee Nickell Robey-Coleman and veteran Cre'Von LeBlanc figure to compete for playing time in the nickel position, but if the Eagles use Slay to shadow the offense's top receiver and he lines up inside, the nickel cornerback will have to be versatile enough to move outside, which makes Maddox valuable in this role as well.

SAFETY

Interesting group. Rodney McLeod is one starter. He's the leader in the deep secondary. The Eagles have Jalen Mills at safety after he was a starter on the outside at cornerback, and they have made sure to add competition in the form of Will Parks in free agency and K'Von Wallace in the NFL Draft. Also consider returning veterans Marcus Epps and Rudy Ford, who are pushing for some time as well.

SPECIALIST

Easy peasy. The Operation is back intact with Jake Elliott as the placekicker, Cameron Johnston as the punter, and Pro Bowl long snapper Rick Lovato. Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp will sort through plenty of candidates for the return jobs, but he's in good shape with options and the core of his kicking game in place and among the best in the NFL.

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