Philadelphia Eagles News

Much To Consider With Eagles' 53-Man Roster

At first glance, the Eagles' 53-man roster had to be most difficult to put together for Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas, what with the uncertainty among on-the-comeback-from-injury veterans and with some young and promising talent to consider. This is going to change, folks, and we know that going in. But on this Saturday – a Tuesday in the minds and football operations of the Eagles with a Thursday night game ahead, this is the 53.

"It was more complicated than normal," Roseman said."We were a little non-traditional with our position allocations. It will be, for the first couple of weeks, like normal, a fluid situation.That's our job, to continue to improve our roster so we'll look for opportunities to do that."

  • Linebacker Nigel Bradham is suspended for the Atlanta game, so he doesn't count on this 53-man roster. The Eagles picked up a roster spot, just so you know for accounting purposes, so when he becomes active following the opener, on Friday, the roster will be altered. Someone will have to be removed from the 53.
  • The most surprising name on the 53-man roster is tight end Joshua Perkins, and here is why he made it, at least at first glance: Richard Rodgers has a "week-to-week" knee injury, says head coach Doug Pederson, and the Eagles need Perkins to be a third tight end. He knows the system. He's played in the NFL (with Atlanta a couple of seasons ago), and he can do some of the things that Rodgers can do on special teams and in the offense. "He's got versatility, a former wide receiver," Roseman said of Perkins. "Tight ends are hard to find in the league and we want to make sure we are covered there on offense and on special teams."
  • Roseman did not make a trade, but you know he worked the phones. He always works the phones. The Eagles kept 10 offensive linemen, so they're extremely deep there. The team kept eight offensive linemen last season. The quick progress made by draft picks Matt Pryor and Jordan Mailata factored into this. The Eagles have young depth with them, along with veterans Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Chance Warmack.
  • Who says the preseason games have no value? DeAndre Carter made it by making plays in the preseason. He's quick, shifty, and caught the football very well. He showed elusiveness. The Eagles have six receivers on this 53, including Alshon Jeffery, who is a day-to-day proposition. He's practicing, and that's a great sign. Roseman said of Carter, who was with Douglas and director of player personnel Andy Weidl in Baltimore in 2015: "Every day he made a play. The guy just kept making plays. You've got to go with what your eyes see."
  • Four running backs made the team, including veteran Wendell Smallwood. A 53-yard game in Cleveland earned him a job. Rookie Josh Adams was among the players released. If he clears waivers, he's probably a strong candidate to be added to the team's practice squad.
  • Another unheralded and undrafted rookie made the team: defensive tackle Bruce Hector. The Eagles were high on him from the jump, and he is a developmental player to work into a four-man defensive tackle rotation. (Tim Jernigan is on Reserve/NFI and won't be active for at least six weeks). Now, on gamedays, the Eagles can get away with three tackles (Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, and Destiny Vaeao) and use some of their defensive ends (Michael Bennett, Brandon Graham) inside on pass-rushing downs. There is versatility along the defensive line. Of Hector, Roseman said, "He's got a nice combination of power and athleticism and he's a young player. He's got some upside."
  • Speaking of defensive end, the Eagles kept five of them, including rookie Josh Sweat. Veteran Steven Means was released, despite a three-sack performance in the preseason finale. The depth at defensive end was no surprise. The Eagles just saw too much in Sweat to expose him to another team's active roster. He has a high upside.
  • Cameron Johnston won the punting job. He's also the holder for Jake Elliott, who boomed a 55-yard field goal on Thursday night. Kudos to Johnston, who had his ups and downs in practice in the spring and early in Training Camp. He had a monster preseason. He should have a lot of confidence going into the season.
  • As expected, three quarterbacks are here. No word on anything about Thursday night, though. Joe Callahan and Christian Hackenberg were released. We'll see if one of them returns on the practice squad.
  • De'Vante Bausby was the odd man out at cornerback. The Eagles added Avonte Maddox to a group consisting of starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills and second-year men Sidney Jones – the anticipated starter at nickel cornerback – and Rasul Douglas.
  • Among the four safeties, Tre Sullivan made the roster. He really opened some eyes last summer and impressed enough in the preseason this year to make the 53. Good for him. The young man worked hard to improve in a year's time and he's got a fantastic group of veterans ahead of him to show him the way.
  • LaRoy Reynolds made the 53-man roster and could play some SAM linebacker in place of Bradham in Week 1. It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz juggles his personnel in the opener. The Eagles can use Malcolm Jenkins as a quasi-linebacker with Corey Graham at safety. Maybe having Sullivan for Week 1 gives the Eagles some depth, just in case. So much of this roster was put together with the first week in mind, it seems from this perspective.
  • Quiet on the trade front. I kind of expected, given Roseman's history, to have something to digest here. But we all know this: It's early and Roseman remakes the roster if he sees chances during the regular season, as he did last year. This is far from over, but at first glance, the Eagles had a lot to consider – injuries, a suspension, and a short week ahead – as they put together the first of what will be a fluid 53-man roster.(Updated: Eagles trade for S Deiondre Hall from Chicago, announced during Roseman press conference. Hall is suspended for Week 1 and will be added to active roster on Friday).

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