Takeaways From Eagles Final 53-Man Roster Cuts
All the difficult decisions for Howie Roseman have been made.
The Eagles have trimmed their first 53-man roster for the 2019 season, with a position-by-position breakdown from John McMullen here.
Here are the takeaways:
1. Tight End Move Still To Come
For now, the Eagles are rolling with just Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert as their tight ends, as they waived Alex Ellis and Josh Perkins and already put Richard Rodgers on the injured list. One thing you can expect; Howie Roseman will bring in another name at that position shortly.
"Just because we have two on the 53, doesn't mean that we'll end up having two to practice or we'll end up having two when we go play," Roseman explained. "We'll just see what happens here in the next day or so."
Jalen Mills injury that sidelined him for most of last season will not allow him to start the season, as the Eagles placed him on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he will miss at least the first six games of the season.
Overall, the Eagles came out pretty clean in the injury department for the month of August, and it appears that Fletcher Cox and Nigel Bradham should be ready to open the season on Sept 8 against Washington or at least very early in the season.
Other than the injury to Nate Sudfeld, the Eagles had a pretty healthy preseason.
3. Eagles Keep Six Defensive Ends
As the start of camp, the defensive end position looked like it would consistg of five names, but the more and more former third-round pick Daeshon Hall played, the more it looked like the Eagles would keep six at the position, and not five.
Hall is the sixth guy, and essentially forced the Eagles to keep him on the roster. with a tremendous preseason. He was battling for a roster spot with Josh Sweat, and Shareef Miller, two guys the team drafted, but in the end Roseman simply could not cut Hall.
"I don't know that there's a better young defensive end in football than [DE] Daeshon Hall this preseason," admitted Roseman. "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."
4. Young Reserve Offensive Line
With Saturday’s moves, the Eagles have a very young group of guys behind the starting offensive lineman.
"I think when you look at it, you look at our starting group and we're really excited about our starting group," Roseman explained.
The starting group, as Roseman explained is very good, but their are some injury concerns and a aging core with Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks all slowed by offseason injuries.
Andre Dillard is a rookie, Jordan Milata and Matt Proyor are both in their second season, and Nate Herbig is an undrafted rookie free agent. The one veteran name they have as a reserve is Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
"Then you talk about someone like Big V [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai], who shows tremendous ability not only at tackle, where he started at left tackle in the Super Bowl, but now comes in and plays guard and shows his value there and does a tremendous job for us there.
Our first-round pick [T Andre Dillard] is not starting for us. He's a guy that we have a lot of confidence in.
Then you look at the backups that we have after that, and they all have versatility. You really kind of can go one by one. What we are excited about is we have a good mix of veteran players on the offensive line and also youth that we think can develop and develop into good players."
5. Two Leading Rushers From 2018 are Gone
The Eagles top two rushers from last season have been released.
Both Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams failed to make the final 53-man roster.
"You're talking about our leading rusher [in 2018] [Josh Adams] and a guy who played for us in the Super Bowl [Wendell Smallwood]," Roseman stated. "Those are hard conversations to have, and I think it's just a testament to what we have in that room right now. We're really excited about that."
Adams lead the Eagles with a team-high in carries (120) and rushing yards (511). Smallwood, stuck around for three seasons, before finally getting squeezed out this year.
There has been a report, from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, that the Eagles are one of the teams interested in former running back LeSean McCoy.
6. Greg Ward Doesn't Make the Cut
One of the more difficult decisions for Roseman was letting wide receiver Greg Ward go in favor of Mack Hollins. Ward clearly preformed better in the games than Hollins did, but Hollins is a special teams ace, which is essentially how Roseman came to his decision.
"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," Roseman explained.
The Eagles had a very good wide receiver room in camp, but one thing is clear, Ward is capable of helping someone in need of a wide receiver this season.
Either way, you can expect some different names on this 53-man list by the time the Eagles face the Redskins on Sunday, Sept 8.