Philadelphia Eagles News

A round-by-round look at how the roster stands now

You are like everybody else. You just can't wait to see who the Eagles select with the 21st overall pick (assuming they stay there, which is never a safe assumption) on April 23, the opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft. Success in the draft, though, isn't limited to the first round. It's where teams build the core of their roster, and the Eagles have done an excellent job through the years of procuring talent in all seven rounds, and in the frenetic few hours after the draft concludes as teams compete for the top remaining undrafted players.

At the moment, the Eagles have 66 players on the 2020 roster. That means they have 24 slots to fill using any moves they make to add veteran players before and after the draft, the eight draft picks (subject to change, of course) they currently have, and the vital, earn-your-money as a personnel department post-draft period.

Here is the team's roster, round by the round.

First-Round Picks (6)

Obviously, teams need to hit on their first-round draft picks and, as outlined earlier in the week, the Eagles have done that. There is some definite star power here with defensive end Brandon Graham (2010), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (2012), offensive tackle Lane Johnson (2013), and quarterback Carson Wentz (2016) having been recognized during their careers as All-Pros and/or Pro Bowl players. Defensive end Derek Barnett (2017) is a starter and a productive player, and offensive tackle Andre Dillard (2019) is in line to have his role upgraded, significantly perhaps, in 2020. It's interesting to note that, if all goes according to plan, there will be a seventh first-round pick (from 2020) on the 53-man roster. Seven players of 53 total. Not a huge percentage, but star power is required from the top draft picks and the Eagles have that.

Second-Round Picks (8)

The importance of the second round is not to be understated. Teams need to hit on picks here and the Eagles have had mixed success. However, they've been able to supplement the blue-chip talent on the roster with some additions via trade and free agency. The Eagles' draft picks: wide receiver DeSean Jackson (2008), tight end Zach Ertz (2013), cornerback Sidney Jones (2017), tight end Dallas Goedert (2018), wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2019), and running back Miles Sanders (2019).

The Eagles also signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (Chicago, 2012) in free agency in 2017 and traded for cornerback Darius Slay (Detroit, 2013) from the Lions in March.

Third-Round Picks (6)

At least three of the six third-round draft picks on the current roster are going to have significant roles this season: Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks, a draft pick of Houston in 2012 whom the Eagles signed in free agency in 2016, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, drafted by Pittsburgh in 2016 and signed in free agency by the Eagles in March, and left guard Isaac Seumalo, a 2016 Eagles draft pick. Cornerback Rasul Douglas (2017) has played a lot of valuable reps in his three seasons here. Defensive end Daeshon Hall (Carolina, 2017) is coming off a knee injury and has to fight through that, and linebacker Duke Riley (Atlanta, 2017), whom the Eagles acquired in a trade with the Falcons last season, has a chance to win some significant playing time this season.

Fourth-Round Picks (5)

It's important to get some mileage from the fourth round and the Eagles have a bit on the current roster. With two selections in the fourth round on April 25, yeah, the Eagles want to add some impact. The fourth-rounders on this roster: defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, drafted by the Colts in 2016 and acquired in a trade by the Eagles during the 2019 NFL Draft weekend, quarterback Kyle Lauletta (New York Giants, 2018), who will compete for a roster spot in the quarterback room in the summer (fingers crossed), cornerback Avonte Maddox (2018), a versatile defensive back who has logged important snaps since he's been an Eagle and who could end up starting on the outside this year, and defensive ends Josh Sweat (2018), who took a big step in the right direction last season, and Shareef Miller (2019), who needs to make a push after an inactive rookie campaign.

Fifth-Round Picks (6)

There is still quality on the board in the fifth round, as evidenced by this six-man collection. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson (Denver, 2012) has had a storied career and the Eagles look forward to him bouncing back after his injury-ruined 2019 season. Linebacker Jatavis Brown (Chargers, 2016) played some high-quality reps in that defense and has a chance to be in the rotation here. Placekicker Jake Elliott (Cincinnati, 2017) was signed off the Bengals' practice squad in 2017 and has, of course, been terrific. Linebacker Nathan Gerry (2017) was primarily a special teams player before making his big move in the 2019 season. Wide receiver Shelton Gibson (2017) has bounced around and has not been a consistent producer, but he's going to have another chance in 2020. And the Eagles traded for defensive end Genard Avery (Cleveland, 2018) last season and are excited to get him into the pass-rushing rotation in the months ahead.

Sixth-Round Picks (10)

Occasionally, as with the case of center Jason Kelce (2011), you're going to find a player who develops into a standout. For the most part, a player drafted in the sixth round is a long shot to make it in this league. Still, the Eagles have some players who are expected to be key in the season ahead. Safety Will Parks (Denver, 2016) was signed in free agency and the Eagles are excited to see him in the defense. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld (Washington, 2016) is a valuable backup to Wentz. Offensive lineman Matt Pryor (2018) showed up late in 2019 and played well in his first real significant action in the playoff game against Seattle. Running back Boston Scott (New Orleans, 2018) helped save the 2019 season and is going to be a big part of things moving forward in the backfield. Players like wide receiver Robert Davis (Washington, 2017), safety/special teamer Rudy Ford (Arizona, 2017), cornerback Tremon Smith (Kansas City, 2018), wide receiver Marcus Green (Atlanta, 2019), and safety Marcus Epps (Minnesota, 2019) are expected to battle for roster spots and then some in 2020.

Seventh-Round Picks (2)

By this time late in the third day of the NFL Draft, the Eagles are making deals. Last spring, for example, they dealt a seventh-round pick to Indianapolis and acquired Ridgeway. Maybe they use the pick to gain a future, and improved, draft selection. Maybe they just stay put and hope the player they take works out. Defensive back Jalen Mills (2016) is an example of gaining excellent value in this round. Offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (2018) is an example of the norm in the seventh round: Finding something out a player that sticks out and giving him a shot and hoping he develops. Mailata faces a critical preseason, in whatever form it presents to the NFL. He has spent two seasons on Injured Reserve. In his third season, Mailata has to show that he can be counted upon to play.

Undrafted Free Agents (23)

Not quite sure how it will work this year given the unique nature of the draft's logistics, but in a normal year the post-draft frenzy is something to behold as teams literally dash off to telephone their list of undrafted candidates and try to sign them. This is an important, and valuable way, to build the roster and as the list on this current Eagles roster details, some of those players turn into very good NFL players.

The list: safety Rodney McLeod (Rams, 2012), cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman (Buffalo, 2013), Pro Bowl long snapper Rick Lovato (Chicago, 2015), linebacker Alex Singleton (Seattle, 2015), tight end Alex Ellis (Tennessee, 2016), cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc (New England 2016), wide receiver Marken Michel (Minnesota, 2016), tight end Joshua Perkins (Atlanta, 2016), cornerback Trevor Williams (Chargers, 2016), wide receiver River Cracraft (Denver, 2017), punter Cameron Johnston (2017), wide receiver Greg Ward (2017), wide receiver Deontay Burnett (Tennessee, 2018), defensive tackle Bruce Hector (2018), cornerback Craig James (Minnesota, 2018), defensive end Joe Ostman (2018), linebacker T.J. Edwards (2019), offensive lineman Nate Herbig (2019), running back Elijah Holyfield (Carolina, 2019), defensive tackle Albert Huggins (Houston, 2019), offensive guard Sua Opeta (2019), offensive lineman Keegan Render (2019), and defensive tackle Anthony Rush (2019).

Many of the players signed following the NFL Draft begin on the practice squad. And, as we saw last season, the practice squad is a feeder to the active roster and, well, the Eagles wouldn't have won the NFC East last season had their practice squad not delivered the likes of Ward, Burnett, Edwards, James, and Rush. Every player on the 90-man roster matters.

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