Eagles 53-Man Roster Projection: The Post-Dress Rehearsal Edition
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - A lot has transpired since the beginning of Eagles training camp which exemplifies just how fluid a 53-man NFL roster can be.
Gone via trade are previous roster gimmes like receiver Jordan Matthews and versatile offensive lineman Allen Barbre, along with a bubble guy who always seemed to find a way to stick around in Matt Tobin.
With the heavy lifting for the starters now done, it's time to take a look at how the final 53 should look on Sept. 2.
Locks: Carson Wentz
Likely: Nick Foles
Out: Matt McGloin; Dane Evans (PS)
The Skinny: The only reason Foles is the "likely" category is the persistent elbow soreness that has kept him out of all three preseason games so we at least have to bring up the prospect of injured reserve. If the Eagles are just being overly cautious as Doug Pederson has intimated Philadelphia has a very strong QB situation with a young ascending star in Wentz and a competent No. 2 in Foles, who understand the system and has extensive starting experience.
RUNNING BACKS: (4)
Locks: Darren Sproles; Wendell Smallwood
Likely: LeGarrette Blount; Donnel Pumphrey
Out: Byron Marshall; Corey Clement (PS)
The Skinny: The 34-year-old Sproles has been placed in bubble wrap for the entire preseason which tells you how valuable Pederson believe he is and Smallwood is well-regarded by this organization and has extra value as perhaps the team's best kickoff returner.
Blount is in the likely category because of his contract and the ability for the Eagles to move on with only $400K in dead money but the only way that comes to fruition is if Howie Roseman finds a better alternative outside the organization, a very unlikely scenario.
Pumphrey, meanwhile, is obviously not ready but the guess is the organization keeps him on the 53 and he doesn't dress in sort of a redshirt season, Stashing him on IR is always a possibility as well and that would put the versatile Marshall in line for the final spot. Clement is tailor-made for the practice squad because he still needs development as both a pass catcher and in pass protection.
WIDE RECEIVERS: (6)
Locks: Alshon Jeffery; Nelson Agholor; Torrey Smith; Mack Hollins
Likely: Marcus Johnson; Bryce Treggs
Out: Paul Turner; Shelton Gibson (PS); David Watford; Greg Ward (PS); Rashard Davis; Keevan Lucas
The Skinny: Without Matthews, the Eagles could move this position group down to five if they need a body elsewhere but both Johnson and Treggs have done enough to warrant spots on this team. Gibson came on late but the hill was too big to climb and should be given a year on the practice squad to develop as should Ward, who could be something as a slot receiver once he is refined. Turner's scapula injury didn't give him much of an opportunity to compete.
TIGHT END: (3)
Locks: Zach Ertz; Brent Celek; Trey Burton
Out: Billy Brown (PS); Anthony Denham; Adam Zaruba
The Skinny: This is maybe the most entrenched position on the team with the only real threat being Brown, a former small-school receiver at Shepherd who could turn into the detached matchup problem everyone is searching for if he is able to develop. Burton is a Wentz favorite and should see more traffic as a receiver this season.
OFFENSIVE LINE: (9)
Locks: Jason Peters; Issac Seumalo; Jason Kelce; Brandon Brooks; Lane Johnson; Stefen Wisniewski; Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Likely: Chance Warmack; Dillon Gordon
Out: Josh Andrews, Taylor Hart; Victor Salako; Aaron Neary; Dallas Thomas; Tyler Orlosky (PS); Darrell Greene
The Skinny: The starters are set and Vaitai is shaping up as the swing tackle with Wisniewski and Jeff Stoutland favorite Chance Warmack handling the backup work on the interior. Gordon is still raw but his versatility of being able to line up at tight end and fullback, along with left tackle, is worth keeping around.
DEFENSIVE LINE: (10)
Locks: Brandon Graham; Fletcher Cox; Tim Jernigan; Vinny Curry; Derrick Barnett; Chris Long; Beau Allen
Likely: Steven Means; Destiny Vaeao; Elijah Qualls
Out: Alex McCalister (PS); Justin Hamilton (PS); Gabe Wright; Winston Craig
The Skinny: This is the deepest aspect of the Eagles' team with McCalister and Hamilton losing out. Means has just been too productive in live environments to keep McCalister over him and Allen's return after a pec injury seals Hamilton's fate after a solid summer. Qualls' ceiling is too high to risk him going through waivers.
Locks: Jordan Hicks; Nigel Bradham; Mychal Kendricks
Likely: Nathan Gerry; Joe Walker; Najee Goode
Out: Kamu Grugier-Hill (PS); Don Cherry (PS)
The Skinny: Kendricks has had a monster preseason and will be ready to step in as a three-down linebacker if Bradham is suspended. If Nigel begins the season on the roster, Grugier-Hill is the odd man out although the coaching staff likes him. Goode's ability to play all three spots, along with special teams, keeps him safe.
Locks: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills; Malcolm Jenkins; Rodney McLeod; Rasul Douglas; Corey Graham
Likely: Patrick Robinson; C.J. Smith; Chris Maragos; Jaylen Watkins
Non-Football Injury: Sidney Jones
Out: Ron Brooks; Aaron Grymes, Jomal Wiltz, Tay Glover-Wright; Terrence Brooks; Tre Sullivan (PS); Mitchell White
The Skinny: This might be the toughest area to figure. Ron Brooks is a Jim Schwartz favorite but Robinson seems to have handled the slot better since Darby arrived and Smith's ability to play outside trumps keeping a player that's really best-suited inside and that includes both Brooks and Grymes.
At safety, Graham is already entrenched as the third option while Terrence Brooks' stock took a huge drop against Miami. In the end, Watkins gets the 10th and final spot because he can play corner and safety in a pinch and Maragos is already around for special teams, Terrence Brooks' big advantage over Watkins.
Locks: P Donnie Jones; PK Caleb Sturgis
Likely: LS Jon Dorenbos
Out: P Cameron Johnston; LS Rick Lovato
The Skinny: No surprises here as the 37-year-old Dorenbos continues to magically hold off the competition.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen