Projecting The Philadelphia Eagles 53-Man Roster

Finally, the draft is behind the Philadelphia Eagles and all of us fans.

It feels like we'd waited forever for this past weekend to arrive. When you think about it, the draft countdown began for most of us on Dec. 20, when the Eagles lost to the Washington Redskins and squashed any hopes of the 2014 playoffs.

We had visions of Marcus Mariota dancing through Cowboys and Giants in our heads, but in the end we got wide receiver Nelson Agholor (USC), defensive backs Eric Rowe (Utah), JaCorey Shepherd (Kansas) and Randall Evans (Kansas State), outside linebacker Jordan Hicks (Texas) and defensive end Brian Mihalik (Boston College).

More players have been signed as undrafted free agents, and others will come and go through trades, release, etc., up until the Eagles finally report for training camp this summer.

There will be injuries, position battles, surprise emergences and more, but none of those are reasons to wait.

Here's a first (and way too early) stab at the Eagles 2015 53-man roster.

Quarterbacks (3): Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow

Analysis: The most-watched third-string quarterback battle in the country will take place here, with Tebow and Matt Barkley going toe-to-toe. Barkley wins that pure quarterback battle every day of the week, but I think either A) Chip Kelly trades Barkley for a pick or B) the NFL changes extra point rules and Kelly sees Tebow with potential to help in that area.

Running backs (4): DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Raheem Mostert

Analysis: A roster-spot battle will take place between the running backs and tight ends. Chip Kelly's recent comments indicate he'd have no problem keeping four running backs and three tight ends (last year the Eagles had four tight ends and three running backs). I think Mostert's speed (he ran a 4.32 40 at the NFL Combine) is something Kelly won't turn away. Mostert has experience returning kickoffs and could take that job over from the wide receivers who will be stepping into major offensive roles this season.

Tight ends (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton

Analysis: No surprises here. Burton is a key special teams piece.

Wide receivers (6): Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Riley Cooper, Jeff Maehl and John Harris

Analysis: I would love to see the Eagles cut ties with Cooper, but from all reports such a move would cost too much against the salary cap. So, Riley is here for another year, though I predict in a diminished role.

The battle for two final wide receiver spots will be interesting, especially with Miles Austin in camp. I just don't see Austin being able to contribute enough on special teams to make this squad.

I'll give an edge to Jeff Maehl for that reason. The other spot could easily go to a number of players, but Harris may have the most upside. An undrafted free agent out of Texas, Harris caught 68 balls for 1,051 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He is 6 feet 2 inches and 218 pounds, giving him the kind of size Kelly covets. 

Offensive line (9): Allen Barbre, Andrew Gardner, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis, Jason Peters, Matt Tobin, Julian Vandervelde, Kevin Graf

Analysis: I'm going to bet that if Chip Kelly could have drafted a lineman he really wanted, this number would shrink to eight. It didn't happen and so my bet is the number sticks at nine.

This might be the toughest position to project. I'm giving Tobin, Gardner, Barbre and Vandervelde a nod because Kelly mentioned them specifically in a post-draft press conference. I'm also giving Graf a promotion from the practice squad to the active roster.

A lot hinges on Mathis. My gut tells me he's gone, but my heart wants him to stay. In May, I'll go with my heart.

Defensive line (7): Beau Allen, Bennie Logan, Brandon Bair, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Brian Mihalik, Cedric Thornton

Analysis: I think Taylor Hart loses his job with the addition of Brian Mihalik. Brandon Bair is a valuable piece of the special teams unit. This is a position group that has to stay small to make room for the glut of linebackers and defensive backs.

Linebackers (8): Kiko Alonso, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Jordan Hicks, Brad Jones, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Brandon Hepburn

Analysis: Seven names are easy. I'll give the last spot to Hepburn, who spent last year on the practice squad. He's a guy who stands 6 feet 4 inches, which seems to be the kind of length Kelly wants to see. Bottom line is whoever takes the final spot here must excel on special teams.

Defensive backs (10): E.J. Biggers, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, Randall Evans, Eric Rowe, JaCorey Shepherd, Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Maragos, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell

Analysis: I initially tried to trim this position down to eight spots, but that proved impossible. It's at 10 right now and I don't know if that's enough. Is Jaylen Watkins finished in Philadelphia? A lot hinges on Brandon Boykin. If the Eagles move him, perhaps that gives Watkins another shot.

Special teams (3): Jon Dorenbos, Donnie Jones and Cody Parkey

Analysis: No reason to expect any changes here.

Obviously, a lot can and will change between now and Week 1.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below.

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