There were some surprises and there were some no-doubt-about-it moves as the Eagles reduced their roster to 52 players (it's wacky, so hang on) on Saturday evening. Who would have expected players like Reggie Wells, Antwan Barnes and Jorrick Calvin to make the roster? Who *really *thinks the Eagles are done tinkering with the final 52, or 53?
To get you up to speed, the Eagles traded offensive guard Stacy Andrews, but didn't get the deal done until after the 6 p.m. roster deadline. So they had to keep Andrews on the roster until they made the trade. To get to 53, the Eagles worked a deal with Max Jean-Gilles to cut him. He will re-sign on Sunday.
Ten draft picks made the team, and Ricky Sapp, a fifth-rounder, was placed on Injured Reserve. Two more rookies are on the roster.
Here is the roster as it stands now, as the Eagles focus in on Green Bay next Sunday ...
The Eagles kept three quarterbacks -- Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick and Mike Kafka. There were no surprises at all, no changes even with some "name" quarterbacks moved in the league in the last few days. Welcome to the Kevin Kolb Era.
LeSean McCoy is primed for a big season in his second year with the Eagles. Mike Bell is a hard-charging running back who slashes between the tackles. If they both stay healthy, McCoy and Bell make for a good one-two tandem. Eldra Buckley is a standout on special teams and a reliable third running back.
The Eagles have some size here. No flat-out burner, but they have versatility and durability with McCoy looking for a bust-out season.
Leonard Weaver is the guy, period. He is the best fullback the Eagles have had in years. This is a good situation. Look for the Eagles to groom a second fullback on the practice squad, which will be announced in the next couple of days.
TIGHT END (2)
Perhaps Cornelius Ingram returns on the practice squad. He is a great kid and a hard worker and his NFL career is not over. As the Eagles move into the regular season, they have Brent Celek and Clay Harbor as the tight ends. Harbor, a fourth-round draft pick in April, is a good prospect who has really worked hard on his blocking. Celek is ready to be a Pro Bowl tight end and he should flourish in this offense.
*WIDE RECEIVER (5) *
Give Hank Baskett a lot of credit for working his way back from a knee injury and outplaying Kelley Washington for a roster spot. Baskett is the team's fifth wide receiver and a key piece on special teams.
The other four wide receivers were cut and dried, right? DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and rookie Riley Cooper were easy to identify as those on the roster. The Eagles kept five in the end, not six.
**OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
The addition of guard Reggie Wells changed so many things, and put into motion some wheels that perhaps have not yet finished moving. The starters, as it looks now, are Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Nick Cole and Winston Justice. Wells isn't a starter right now, and the Eagles want to look at him at right guard with Cole and they also know he can play left guard.
Trading Stacy Andrews to Seattle for a 2011 conditional draft pick capped the team's moves of the night, which weren't consummated until well after the 6 p.m. deadline. The reserves here are Wells, Mike McGlynn, King Dunlap and Austin Howard.
Once again, Jean-Gilles was released to make the 53-man roster at 6 p.m., but the Eagles will re-sign him on Sunday, giving the Eagles 10 offensive linemen.
DEFENSIVE END (6)
Newly-acquired Antwan Barnes is counted here as a defensive end, and could be a candidate to play Joker and blitz the "A" gap, so we'll include him here. The others are the ends you expected to make the team: Trent Cole, Juqua Parker, Darryl Tapp and rookies Brandon Graham and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. Cole and Graham start, and all of them will play. Nobody here seems terribly concerned about who starts.
If the Eagles can get some consistent production in addition to Cole, well, this group could be outstanding. Graham has a huge upside. Parker is coming off of his best NFL season. Tapp can play inside and outside and he can play both end positions. Let's see how he plays when the lights go on in the regular season.
Te'o-Nesheim has worked as a starter in the nickel, and somewhere the Eagles will use Barnes for his ability to get to the quarterback.
** DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4)
Really, the only question here was whether Jeff Owens would make the team, persuading the Eagles to keep five tackles. Instead, Owens was cut on Saturday, but he could be a practice-squad candidate here.
The four-man depth chart is well established: Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon.
*LINEBACKER (7) *
All along the linebackers were tough to figure. In the end, the Eagles kept seven linebackers, many of whom will form the core of the special teams. The starters are Ernie Sims, Stewart Bradley and Akeem Jordan. Omar Gaither isn't a starter, but he certainly is good enough to be one and he will back up at all three positions and play a lot on special teams.
Keenan Clayton, Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou made it as well, and so the Eagles went heavy here and will direct a lot of these players toward Bobby April's group.
Tracy White was traded to New England for a conditional draft pick in 2012.
In a stunner, Jorrick Calvin showed enough as a kickoff return man and, perhaps, as a cornerback in Thursday night's preseason finale to convince the Eagles to keep him and, in turn, cut kickoff return man Quintin Demps. Ellis Hobbs may or may not be the kickoff return man against Green Bay. He wants to do it, but will the Eagles risk the injury factor and have Hobbs back there?
Anyway, the Eagles kept five safeties and it is a group that has everyone watching. Pro Bowl ball hawk Asante Samuel leads the group, with Hobbs as the other starter. Joselio Hanson is the nickel cornerback with Dimitri Patterson and rookie Trevard Lindley pushing for playing time. **
Demps fell from grace very quickly here after entering training camp in 2009 as a starter at free safety. He was cut on Saturday. The Eagles could make other moves here and add a player, but for now they have starters Quintin Mikell and rookie Nate Allen, along with seventh-round draft pick Kurt Coleman, who had an outstanding summer. He punctuated his preseason with two fumble recoveries for touchdowns against the Jets.
What happens if the Eagles need an emergency safety? Well, Samuel has seen time there in some preseason games, if you didn't notice. And, well, let's see what else the team might do.
Easily done: David Akers is the placekicker, Sav Rocca punts and Jon Dorenbos is the long snapper. Rocca was outstanding in the preseason and Akers was terrific, as usual. The Eagles are in great shape here.