Eagles Make the Cut to 53
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles got down to the league-mandated 53-man roster limit on Saturday by releasing 11 players and placing cornerback Jalen Mills on the PUP list to start the season, ensuring the veteran cornerback will miss at least the first six games of the 2019 campaign.
Philadelphia released veteran interior backup Stefen Wisniewski, instead keeping undrafted rookie Nate Herbig, and waived 10 others, including 2018 leading rusher Josh Adams.
The others placed on the waiver wire are fellow running backs Wendell Smallwood and Boston Scott, fifth-round rookie quarterback Clayton Thorson, receiver Greg Ward, tight ends Josh Perkins and Alex Ellis, offensive guard Sua Opeta, offensive tackle Brett Toth, and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.
To start, here’s the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster for 2019:
QB (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld
-The Eagles swallowed the medicine and waived fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson, who looked overmatched most of the summer.
"I think for us, when we made the decision to sign Josh [McCown], obviously that put Clayton in a tough spot," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman acknowledged. "... We are not just going to keep guys on the team because we draft them in a certain round."
RB (4): Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement
-No surprises here with Roseman noting Clement's versatility gave him the nod over players like Adams and Smallwood.
"Corey, really, he can play all four downs and he's a heck of a special teams player and he looks 100 percent," Roseman said. "We like how all those guys play off each other."
WR (5): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins
-Special teams was the theme for the final roster spots as it always is and that gave Hollins the edge over Ward.
"Greg has done a tremendous job and really I don't have an answer about what he could have done more, other than we're trying to balance everyone we have at every position and what we're looking for offensively, defensively and on special teams," Roseman said. "... You know, when we look at the wide receiver room, and what we were looking for, and what Greg had done on special teams, maybe what we were looking for from that fifth receiver spot on special teams, it was just not something that he had done."
TE (2): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert
-The Eagles went extremely light due to the Richard Rodgers injury so this is the most likely spot for a waiver claim although you also may see first-round left tackle Andre Dillard as an extra blocking TE.
OL (10): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, Nate Herbig
-The Eagles have wanted to get a more athletic interior backup than Wisniewski and believe they may have found it with an undrafted rookie in Herbig.
DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller
-Philadelphia went heavy at DE because you simply could not cut Hall.
"I don't know that there's a better young defensive end in football than Daeshon Hall this preseason," Roseman said. "He deserves a tremendous amount of credit. He went and worked on his body in the off-season. He came back 30 pounds heavier, and then he proved it on the field."
DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway
-The biggest story here is that the Eagles went light and part of that is because of the belief that Cox will be ready for Week 1.
"Yes, I think that would be fair," Roseman said when asked about the assumption the All-Pro would be ready for the Redskins.
LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort, T.J. Edwards
-Undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards did enough for the Eagles to keep six at a devalued position for many.
CB (5): Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc
-The good news is that LeBlanc was carried so that means he will likely be ready early in the season.
S (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien, Rudy Ford
-Philadelphia evidently loves the ST ability of Ford and Roseman again punctuated how much the organization like Sendejo.
"Since the day he walked in this building, sometimes you get guys and they are even different than you thought," Roseman explained when discussing Sendejo. "You know, sometimes in bad ways, sometimes in good ways. Until you kind of live with them, you don't know. And he's been really one of the biggest surprises for us the whole offseason and really training camp and just the kind of player he is, how he presents himself every day, how he works, how he studies, his athleticism. So for us and with him, and the things that he can do for the defense, it's been exciting."
SPECIALISTS (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
-There was never any competition here.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen