The 2014 NFL Draft is not for another eight months, but the draft room on the second floor of the NovaCare Complex has been full of activity for the past few weeks.
The Eagles trimmed the roster to the 53-player limit on Saturday, but the player-acquisition process will continue Sunday. General manager Howie Roseman and his personnel staff will look to churn the bottom part of the roster with the ability to put claims in on players who were released over the past two days. In addition, the Eagles can formulate their eight-man practice squad by bringing back eligible players they released or plucking unclaimed players from other teams.
To prepare for what will be the last opportunity to add a voluminous amount of players for the year, the Eagles have "spent an inordinate amount of time" on players from other teams who were on the bubble. They scouted the preseason tape, went back over their own previous notes, compared the players to whom they currently have and crafted a draft board.
"We've spent a lot of time on the wire right now and we'll continue to look for ways to upgrade this team," Roseman said Saturday. "As we sit here, it's a constant evaluation. It's a constant evaluation of the back of the roster. If we have opportunities to continue to add some young players that we think will help our team, we get that opportunity we're going to look at it."
The Eagles owned the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and used it to secure starting right tackle Lane Johnson. The Eagles have built a foundation with 23 players who have fewer than three years of NFL experience. The average age of the players on the current roster is 25.8 years old. The other benefit of the high draft pick is a good spot in the line for waiver-wire claims. The only challenge is that the three teams ahead - Kansas City, Jacksonville and Oakland - can put in as many claims as they want as long as they can accommodate the player or players on the 53-man roster. As much as the Eagles prepare, they'll have to sweat out what the teams ahead of them do - just like during the draft.
"I don't know what the first three guys feel like," Roseman said. "I always felt like when I looked at it from afar before that was a pretty valuable spot."
Claims are due to the league office by Noon on Sunday. The Eagles will learn shortly after if they've been awarded any of the players. Roseman explained that the Eagles are also using some of the final roster spots on players who can provide a particular skill set. Tight end Emil Igwenagu carved out a niche by being better than all of the other players in his position group on the roster at one particular aspect of the game.
"We didn't feel like there was another guy on the roster who was as good as a point-of-attack blocker," Roseman said. "He's a physical guy and we also felt like those other three guys (James Casey, Brent Celek, and Zach Ertz) were receiving threats."
The Eagles may have made their final cuts on Saturday, but there is nothing set in concrete when it comes to the roster.
"It's an evolving process," Roseman said. "I can't tell you it's going to look like that in Week 10. We're going to be constantly on the lookout. We're trying to build this team and we're trying to get players we think can be here for a long time. We're open to things that we think can make us better."
The draft board is set in the NovaCare Complex. The team will decide which players to put in claims on and then wait before springing into action. Whether it's the active roster and/or the practice squad, more changes are coming for the Eagles.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider