The preseason is in the books and soon, we will know the 53 players that will make up the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles. Just 10 days remain before the Eagles take the field for the regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Having watched four preseason games, there are a lot of opinions and thoughts about the players that should make the team and shouldn’t make the team.
Here is my final 53 projection.
Quarterback: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley
Obviously, Foles is going to be under center as the starter and Sanchez build a strong rapport with his teammates during the preseason. He offers a lot as a backup option. Barkley isn’t really close to these two, but another year of learning under these two quarterbacks will only help.
Running Back: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Matthew Tucker, Henry Josey
Again, McCoy is the obvious and Sproles adds a new dimension to the Eagles short-game offense. Tucker’s ability on goalline plays was nice to see and he had his moments during the preseason, serving as a solid third back. Josey really impressed me in the final preseason game, which may give him the nod over both Chris Polk and Kenjon Barner.
Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Jeff Maehl, Arrelious Benn
I really liked what I saw from Arrelious Benn this preseason and originally had him over Maehl. But Maehl also seriously impressed in the final preseason game and as one of Chip Kelly’s Oregon guys, there’s no way he’s left off the roster. I have Brad Smith as the odd-man out, but it could go many ways.
Tight End: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, James Casey
Trey Burton made it interesting after a strong game on Thursday, but Casey didn’t do anything to lose the final spot.
Offensive Line: Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, David Molk, Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner
The second string O-line played just as well as the first-string during the preseason. The Eagles don’t have any problems there, even without Lane Johnson during the first four weeks of the season.
Defensive Line: Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry, Damion Square, Brandon Bair
I was really impressed with Bair’s play all preseason, which may give him the nod over others like Taylor Hart. But Hart’s an Oregon guy. Bair had the stronger preseason. One of the closest races coming out of the preseason. Also give tons of credit to seventh-round pick Beau Allen. He was a standout throughout camp and has earned his place on the roster.
Outside Linebacker: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith II, Bryan Braman, Travis Long
The top three are obvious. Smith has room for improvement but gets a spot on pure potential alone. He’ll grow into whatever role the Eagles decide to have him play. Braman will strictly be a special teams guy while Long turned in a solid camp to grab the last spot.
Middle Linebackers: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode
Goode started to make his case for this season’s roster late last season. He’s been solid enough to be the depth piece at this position for the Eagles behind two of the Eagles stronger defensive players in Ryans and Kendricks.
Cornerback: Cary Williams, Nolan Carroll, Brandon Boykin, Bradley Fletcher, Jaylen Watkins
Cary Williams’ place is known and so is Jaylen Watkins. They are the top and bottom of the depth chart. Who starts as the second cornerback or the slot corner is still a mystery, but the three players in contention are obvious.
Safety: Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos
Maragos will also strictly spend time on special teams. Wolff and Allen will likely rotate at the strong safety position while Jenkins handles the bulk of the free safety duties.
Special Teams: Donnie Jones, Cody Parkey, Jon Dorenbos
This will be a tougher decision internally for the Eagles than it looks to those on the outside. Parkey clearly was superior to Alex Henery, even in limited play. But the Eagles need to be able to trust the kicker moving forward. Field goals of 50+ yards are hard to argue with. Henery ultimately lost the job by missing a 31-yarder late in the Week 3 win over the Steelers.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.