The Bubble Looms for Certain Eagles Veterans
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - A certain amount of roster upheaval is expected in any NFL city from year to year but with the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles, change is already a theme after the insertion of the new coaching staff, which is implementing entirely different systems on both sides of the football.
That creates an even more uncertain environment surrounding the team as we head to training camp in late July.
Like most coaches Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz appreciate the leadership and savvy veteran players can bring to the table but the new additions brought in during the offseason were done so in an effort to fit things schematically. And
Here’s a look at the five that could be in hot water:
5. - Wide receiver, Josh Huff - The Eagles are still not great at the WR position but they've added a number of legitimate NFL bodies in the offseason, namely free agents Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham. Meanwhile, Huff is still a guy who struggles with route running and catching the football consistently. My guess is that Huff still sticks because of the uncertainty surrounding Nelson Agholor, coupled with his ability as a kick returner. But, don't expect much at WR other than the occasional manufactured touch to try to take advantage of Huff's athleticism.
4. - Offensive tackle, Dennis Kelly - Kelly got a modest extension in the offseason and spent much of the spring lining up with the second team at right tackle but if you look at the numbers game, things don't bode well for the former seventh-round pick. At some point rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai is going to be given more rope and Matt Tobin shapes up as the better fit for the Eagles' game day swing-tackle position behind Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. With Stefen Wisniewski and rookie third-round pick Isaac Seumalo penciled in as the interior backups, that leaves Kelly on the outside, looking in at this roster.
3. - Defensive end, Bryan Braman - You read that designation right as the long-time backup linebacker has been moved to defensive end in Schwartz's 4-3 scheme. Braman spent most of the spring on the right side behind both Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham and it's conceivable that his special teams acumen will be too much to ignore but if Philadelphia feels it has enough young talent for what Dave Fipp wants to accomplish, Braman isn't sticking around because he's a square peg in the round hole of this defensive system.
2. - Defensive lineman, Taylor Hart - Hart began offseason work getting Fletcher Cox's reps at under tackle but was quickly passed up by free-agent pickup Mike Martin. A natural five-technique, Hart will be pushed by a number of undrafted free agents for the last spot on the defensive line and considering price tag and fit for this defense, it's unlikely Hart finds the final 53 again.
1. - Offensive lineman, Andrew Gardner - Gardner went from starter at right guard in Chip Kelly's offense, who got a pretty nice extension before a Lisfranc injury ended his 2015 season to the third team left tackle in Pederson's system. With the improved depth on the offensive line as a whole brought in, along with the needed space for the rookies, it's almost a fait accompli that Gardner won't be around come September.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen