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Eagles 53-man Roster Projection

With June coming to an end, July brings the start of training camp in just a few weeks.

With training camp right around the corner, here's an early look at the Eagles projected 53-man roster.

Quarterback (3): Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz

This group has pretty much been locked in since draft night. Bradford is the present, Wentz is the future and Daniel is the mentor. Barring any sort of injury during training camp, these guys will be on the sideline Week 1. 

Running Back (3): Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood

Based on all the negativity surrounding the Eagles running backs, one would probably forget that Mathews averaged over five yards per carry a season ago and was very productive running behind a sub-par offensive line. His health has always been a major issue, but if he can play 10-12 games, that should give the team a big boost.

Smallwood is a good fit for Pederson's scheme and could find himself on the field quite a bit once he understands the nuances of NFL football. Sproles will have a bigger role than he did a season ago, although he was terribly ineffective on offense. Either age is finally catching up with him or he will be relagated to simply being the team's punt returner. Either way, he makes the squad unless he is moved between now and the beginning of the season, with Kenjon Barner being his replacement.

Wide Receiver (5): Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Chris Givens, Rueben Randle, Josh Huff

Out are Riley Cooper and Miles Austin, in are Chris Givens and Rueben Randle. Those moves alone will make the Eagles' receiving corps more formidable. Randle has a lot of success in the New York Giants' west coast offense and Givens is the deep threat the offense was missing last year.

Matthews is an obvious lock and a fresh start could be what Agholor and Huff need to unlock their potential. If Huff continues to struggle, he still adds value as the kick returner and a gunner on punt coverage.

Tight End (4): Trey Burton, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Chris Pantale

Ertz and Celek both signed extensions this offseason, so barring any sort of "Space-Jam-esque" loss of skills, they will be on the roster. Burton has played well on special teams during his two years and is also a versatile player on offense who could offer some different looks as an h-back.

The new face is Pantale, although after the praise that was heaped onto him from Pederson during spring practices, his inclusions shouldn't be that surprising. Pantale is a big, strong body who could also get some looks at fullback. Despite a strong spring, he still needs a good training camp in order to go from summer talking point to 53-man roster member.

Offensive Line (9): Jason Peters, Allan Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Malcolm Bunche, Stefan Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Four of the starting spots are locked in with Peters and Johnson occupying the tackle spots, Brooks at guard and Kelce at center. Barbre played left guard last season and wasn't a liability, so he is penciled in that slot for now with Wisniewski being his primary competition. 

The loser of the left guard competition, along with both the Eagles 2016 draftees should headline the reserves. Both Vaitai and Seumalo have experience playing all over the line, which will help their cause. Bunche was projected to be a mid-round before spending his final year of college at UCLA, so he has the potential to be a solid NFL lineman. This is a young group and Pederson may decide to keep a veteran like Andrew Gardner or Matt Tobin and try to slide Bunche back on the practice squad for another season.

Defensive End (6): Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman, Marcus Smith, Alex McCalister

Barwin, Curry and Graham will form a solid rotation of ends, but after that trio, things get a bit hairy. Braman is listed as a defensive end, but his role is on special teams and it seems unlikely he will see a solid number of snaps on defense. Smith finally started to look like an NFL player at the end of last season and if he can adapt to Jim Schwartz's simple tasks concept, he could finally be a productive player.

The wild card is the seventh-round pick McCalister, who fell to final round of the draft due to some off-the-field concerns. The rookie is still raw an could stand to put on some weight, but he could find some success in a wide-nine scheme that values speed. In a perfect world, he could be stashed on the practice squad for a year, but a lacking of depth could press him into action.

Defensive Tackle (4): Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox, Beau Allen, Mike Martin

Just like their defensive line comrades, this is a group with a lot of top end talent, but uninspiring depth. Any group that has Cox in it can't be called a liability, but it's hard to think this group will be successful when the first unit is on the sideline. But the tandem of Logan and Cox will wreak havoc on the interior of opposing offensive lines.

Allen is the best of the rest and maybe the scheme change will help him to evolve from being an uninspiring backup. Martin is a complete shot in the dark, he has the most experience of any of the other DTs and was once a third-round pick. But there's a good chance the Eagles will be scouring the waiver wire on cut days if Taylor Hart or any of the undrafted rookies don't raise some eyebrows during camp.

Linebacker (6): Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Travis Long

As constructed, this squad is very, very fragile. Bradham, Hicks and Kendricks could be a solid starting group, but that's only if Bradham plays as well as he did under Schwartz two years ago, Kendricks returns to his 2014 form and Hicks can stay for an entire season for just the second time since 2011. Those variables make it hard to count on these guys.

On the bench, you have a career backup, a seventh-round rookie and a guy who has torn his ACL two years in a row. Goode has played admirably during his time on the field, but isn't a fit at middle linebacker and I doubt Schwartz wants to put Walker in at the center of his defense. An injury to Hicks may force Kendricks to slide inside and Goode to occupy the WILL spot. Long will have to overcome his extensive injury history, but he was a tremendous athlete and could be a versatile pass rusher off the bunch.

But, just like the defensive tackles, the final two pieces may not be on the Eagles roster right now. 

Cornerback (6): Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll, Eric Rowe, Jalen Mills, JaCorey Shepherd, Ron Brooks

The Eagles have a lot of bodies at cornerback, but not much top-end talent. McKelvin, Carroll and Rowe are competing for the two starting spots, while other three guys are versatile enough to play both on the outside and in the slot. Mills turned a lot of heads during the spring and some people think he could work his way into being the nickelback in 2016.

Brooks familiarity with Schwartz helps his case here and Shepard was in line to be the slot corner last year before tearing his ACL. Left off this squad are Jaylen Watkins and Denzel Rice, but both of them have a fighting shot at cracking the 53-man roster. 

Safety (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Blake Countess

Jenkins and McLoed are the top-paid safety tandem in the NFL and should be expected to play as such. Jenkins ability come down near the line of scrimmage to support the run and cover guys coming off the ball will compliment McLeod's ability to stay deep and play centerfield.

As for the reserves, Maragos's ability on special teams earn himself another roster spot while Countess's versatility gives him the nod. Ed Reynolds showed flashes last year and could end up as the fourth safety if Countess falls flat. Another option would be to give Mills reps at safety and use him as a backup here in order to free up a roster spot for another cornerback.

Special Teams (3): Caleb Sturgis, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos

Jones and Dorenbos will head into camp with zero competition, so their spots are sewn up. Most fans may have already counted out Sturgis as an option as kicker in favor of 2014 Pro Bowler Cody Parkey, but Sturgis really kicked well after shaking off the rust last season and Parkey is trending downward.

Also, Sturgis was much more consistent on kickoffs last season than Parkey was during his rookie year. It may upset some fans, but the numbers are pointing toward Sturgis edging out Parkey for the 2016 Eagles' kicking job.

Tucker Bagley is a columnist for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @tbagley515.


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