The Final 53: Thoughts on Eagles 53-man roster


Saturday afternoon, it all became official as 52 players survived the final round of cuts. One more name was added to the list on Sunday, rounding out the 53 players that will embark on a 17-week journey with the hopes of pushing the Eagles back to the top of the NFC East and into the playoffs again.

Now that we know the 53 players that will make up the Eagles as selected by Chip Kelly, it's time to take a closer look at the decisions that could make or break the Eagles season.

Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Eagles roster.

Quarterbacks (3) – Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Stephen Morris

The season really rests on Bradford's health, but his 10-for-10 performance in Green Bay with three touchdowns was a glimpse of the possibilities Bradford brings. I find Sanchez to be a serviceable backup. For as much criticism as he gets, and by all means, he's a far cry from where Bradford is, he'd likely be a starting quarterback on a few teams in the league. And let's face it, some nights, you get the quarterback who looks like the pure backup and sometimes you get excellent performances like Dallas on Thanksgiving last season. As with most teams, Morris is here for security in the event that someone gets injured. If it ever came down to him, the season would likely be over.

Running Backs (4) – DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner

Obviously the Eagles are loaded at running back. With Murray and Mathews handling a bulk of the running and Sproles being more of a receiver, the Eagles have options galore. Barner really earned his spot with strong play in the running game, but really as a special teams option too.

Wide Receivers (6) – Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, Nelson Agholor, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu

I thought the decision to keep six receivers was a little interesting, buy Ajirotutu is likely here more for special teams help than receiving, though he could be another passing option. The top five were always the top five, though I don't think the order stays the same as the year progresses.

Tight Ends (3) – Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton

Hopefully Ertz is healthy enough to start the season. I'm fairly certain he'll play on Monday in Atlanta, but I wonder how hard he'll be able to push himself after the core muscle surgery. By now, every Eagles fan knows what to expect from Celek. The guy I find most interesting in this is Trey Burton. He earned a spot last year and was strictly a special teams guy. This season, he could get an increased role in the receiving game, especially after a strong preseason.

Offensive Line (9) – Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Andrew Gardner, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, David Molk, Josh Andrews, Matt Tobin

Beyond the starting five, the Eagles don't have as much depth on the line. There's a lot to like about the progress of Gardner and Barbre, but beyond that, the Eagles need to hope for a healthy offensive line this season, something they didn't have in 2014.

Defensive Line (7) – Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Brandon Bair, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart

Those four names could become one of the most fearsome defensive groups in the NFL. Cox is already on his way to Pro Bowl success and Logan made huge strides in the offseason, setting him up for big success as well. Thornton and Curry can also break out for a big game at any point in the season.

Linebackers (9) – Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Graham, Brad Jones, Bryan Braman, Marcus Smith, Jordan Hicks

This is quite the formidable group. Very dangerous and certainly capable of big things. What I found really impressive was the way that Jones and Hicks really fit in with this group. It's easy to talk about the top five here and focus on them and how well they could all perform in their roles. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jones and Hicks succeed in their roles either.

Defensive Backs (9) – Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Jenkins, Nolan Carroll, Walter Thurmond, Eric Rowe, E.J. Biggers, Jerome Couplin, Chris Maragos, Denzel Rice

It is a much-improved secondary, but there are obviously a few risks involved. Rowe is fresh out of the Draft and experienced some rookie mistakes during the preseason. E.J. Biggers had his moments, but really didn't play well at all in the final preseason game. The Eagles top members of the secondary – Maxwell, Jenkins, Carroll and Thurmond – will almost certainly help the Eagles make tremendous improvements from a year ago. But there is still a lot for them to prove, especially in games that hold greater meaning.

Special Teams (3) – Cody Parkey, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos

The same special teams group as last year returns, however there was a lot more of a kicker competition than expected. Parkey battled an injury during the preseason that kept Kip Smith around longer than expected. I don't anticipate anything changing, but an alternative to Pro Bowler Parkey certainly kept things interesting.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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