General manager Howie Roseman went through the roster moves that resulted in the 53-man active roster which will compete for a Super Bowl beginning next Sunday in St. Louis. Here is a position-by-position rundown of what Roseman saw from each position.
Quarterback: Roseman described having Michael Vick, Vince Young and Mike Kafka as a "pretty exciting" group as the Eagles once again boast one of the premier quarterback stables in the NFL. Roseman spoke very highly of Young's performance Thursday night against the Jets. More specifically, Roseman said that Young is a very accurate quarterback who is good at getting the ball in his playmakers' hands and letting them do damage after the catch.
Running Back: At 6-0, 230 pounds, free agent addition Ronnie Brown gives the Eagles a different look at the running back position with a thicker build than either LeSean McCoy or Dion Lewis. Roseman was very happy with the addition of Lewis, a fifth-round pick for the Eagles who will be the team's kickoff returner.
"He comes in and he's just got amazing quickness, the ability to hide behind blockers and then dart out," Roseman said of Lewis. "He's got a great lower body. He's a determined runner and he breaks tackles too."
Wide Receiver: The Eagles kept five at the position which Roseman said is "a strong group." When asked about the punt returner situation, Roseman said that "we have return men on this roster who are pretty prolific." Of course, DeSean Jackson is a Pro Bowl returner and the Miracle at the New Meadowlands speaks to his abilities there. Roseman would not commit to Steve Smith playing in the opener saying that the team would see how he does this week. However, Roseman did say that Jeremy Maclin "looks really good." The season opener is in Maclin's hometown of St. Louis.
Tight End: The Eagles kept second-year man Clay Harbor over veteran Donald Lee. Roseman said that Harbor has improved as an inline blocker and is an "explosive athlete" who can "threaten the deep middle." Roseman noted that around the league players going from Year 1 to Year 2 like Harbor are having the toughest transition. Typically, players get to be in the team facilities all offseason after the rookie year but the work stoppage prevented that from happening this year.
Offensive Line: Jason Peters is the only player who will start along the offensive line for the Eagles at the same position as in 2010. The Eagles are going with rookie sixth-round pick Jason Kelce at center. Roseman said that Kelce is a "heck of an athlete," a "tough guy" and a "smart guy." At left guard, Roseman praised Evan Mathis, who is someone who only signed with the Eagles this offseason after trusting that he would have a chance to compete.
"We were very clear with him that the best guys are going to play," Roseman said. "He had a great camp and a great preseason so hopefully he keeps it up."
Defensive End: After watching the film, it was clear to Roseman that Phillip Hunt had to make the team. Roseman said that Hunt played "lights out" in the preseason. The Eagles kept five ends at a stacked position adding Hunt's youth to the veteran presence of Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Darryl Tapp and Juqua Parker.
Defensive Tackle: Trevor Laws played well in the preseason finale against the Jets, but Roseman said that Laws wasn't "a guy who had to showcase anything for us" because of his experience with the team and how well he fits defensive line coach Jim Washburn's scheme. One of only two rookie free agents to make the team, Cedric Thornton was someone who has "some tools to work with" and some physical and playing traits that the Eagles look for.
Roseman acknowledged that veterans Anthony Hargrove and Derek Landri played well for the Eagles in the preseason, but he wanted a good blend of youth and experience to play well today and still develop for the future.
Linebacker: Roseman loves the youth and the passion that the linebackers have. The Eagles have six at the position including two rookies (Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle) and two second-year players (Keenan Clayton, Jamar Chaney). Roseman also noted that while the players are young here, most of them were four-year starters in college and have high football IQs which have allowed them to pick up the defense quickly.
Cornerback: The Eagles have a nice blend of experience (Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Asante Samuel) and youth (Brandon Hughes, Trevard Lindley, Curtis Marsh). It was tough for Roseman to part ways with veteran Joselio Hanson, but he knows that Hanson will catch on with a new team very quickly.
Safety: Colt Anderson is a difference-maker on special teams and reflects the type of player that Roseman wants on his squad.
"He's the kind of guy that we're trying to be, kind of the mold of what a Philadelphia Eagle is," Roseman said. "He is a tough, fearless guy and he's no wash at safety either. For us, Colt Anderson was going to be on this football team."
Special Teams: Roseman preached patience with Alex Henery and Chas Henry as he said that while the two have all the talent in the world it's not going to happen overnight. Roseman acknowledged that Henery is following in the footsteps of one of the all-time greats to have ever played the position in David Akers.
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