A Way-too-early Projection of the Eagles' 53-man Roster

We're still over two months away from training camp and four months away from the first game of the 2016 NFL season. 

Heck, the 2016 version of the Eagles hasn't even been on the field all together in shorts for OTAs yet. So I understand how completely absurd this is.  

But why not have a little fun and try to envision what the roster will look like? Late in the summer, I'll release another 53-man projection and we can compare it to this disaster. It's only mid-May and there are still 90 men on the roster, but here's a fun look at the first Eagles 53-man projection: 

QB (3): Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz
This would have been tougher to call last week, but Bradford rejoined the team and is still the starter. Now, maybe if some team's quarterback gets hurt during training camp Bradford might get shipped out, but that seems unlikely. If these are the three quarterbacks on the roster, Doug Pederson will be happy to have Wentz sit for a year. 

RB (4): Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner
Without a fullback on the roster, the Eagles can keep an extra running back as a luxury here. That fourth spot will belong to either Barner or undrafted rookie Byron Marshall out of Oregon. 

WR (5): Nelson Agholor, Rueben Randle, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Chris Givens
A little light on wideouts. There's a chance the Eagles choose to bring along six. If they do, T.J. Graham or Marcus Johnson would be fine selections. I think the first four on this list are locks, while Givens will have to really fight his way onto the squad (more on the receivers here)

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
These three are set in stone. Ertz is now the starter, while Celek will be on the field for two-tight end sets. Burton will get a chance to prove himself as a lead blocker. If he does, it saves the Eagles a roster spot that would have gone to a fullback. 

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OL (10): Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Dennis Kelly, Stefen Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo, Andrew Gardner, Big V
This list leaves off three notable players: Matt Tobin, Josh Andrews and Malcolm Bunche. But with the additions of Wisniewski and Seumalo and with Gardner's return from injury, they'll have enough depth at the guard and center spots. Sure, Tobin came back on a one-year tender, but it's a non-guaranteed contract and I think he gets beaten out. Andrews was the backup center last year, a spot that Wisniewski can fill in 2016. I think they can sneak Bunche on the practice squad for another season too, although he'll make a strong push for a roster spot. The first five on the list are in the order they've been working, but Barbre could lose his starting gig to Wisniewski, Seumalo or Gardner. Both draft picks, Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, make the squad. 

DE (6): Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman, Alex McCalister, Marcus Smith
Maybe this is a little too deep for defensive ends, especially because we're going thin at tackle, but I think the Eagles can stash another tackle on the practice squad. The top three here are obviously set, and Braman is still a great special teams player. The last two are question marks. Fans might want to see Smith gone, but I think he has a chance to play better in Jim Schwartz's 4-3 defense, where he just needs to worry about getting to the passer. And McCalister might end up being a nice late-round pick. 

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Beau Allen, Aziz Shittu
This will be an area of weakness after the starters. There just isn't a ton of depth after Cox and Logan (more on that here), which is why a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle and an undrafted free agent out of Stanford are the options. I left Taylor Hart off the team - just don't think he fits this defense. Don't think free-agent signing Mike Martin is a lock, either. 

LB (5): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Joe Walker
This is another area where depth is a serious concern. The starters look pretty good on paper: Hicks, Bradham and Kendricks. But Hicks and Kendricks have a history with injuries and Bradham had one good season under Schwartz a few years ago. After that, there's just Najee Goode and seventh-rounder Joe Walker. Maybe one of the undrafted free agents or Deontae Skinner push for a roster spot, but for now, they remain light at linebacker. 

S (5) Rodney McLeod, Ed Reynolds, Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Maragos, Jalen Mills
The Eagles have to feel good about their depth in the secondary, specifically at the safety position. They really seemed to like Blake Countess, the sixth-rounder out of Auburn, but for now, I have him as the odd man out, along with Randall Evans. 

CB (5) Eric Rowe, Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll, Ron Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd
No, the Eagles haven't spent a ton of money on the cornerback position. They just have to hope one of the young guys works out. It was tough to leave Jaylen Watkins and Denzel Rice off the list. Maybe the practice squad can house one of them. Another guy to keep an eye on is Aaron Grymes, who was a CFL all-star in 2015.  

Specialists (3), LS: Jon Dorenbos, P: Donnie Jones, K: Cody Parkey
All three of these specialists have competition to beat out this offseason. Jones is the safest bet to make the roster after another very good season in 2015. Parkey was injured last year and Caleb Sturgis did a nice job filling in. But Parkey has the edge. Dorenbos struggled last year, and this offseason the Eagles signed an undrafted free-agent long snapper, John DePalma. But the magic man has the staying power of a Twinkie in a nuclear explosion - I think Dorenbos makes it through for another season. 

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