Philadelphia Eagles News

The Makeup Of A 53-Man Roster

I'm not sure how unusual it is, or how it compares to rosters around the league as they sit at the moment, but the first look at this roster reveals youth and talent and a heavy emphasis on the past few drafts.

The average age here, at this instant, is 25. Six players -- Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Jon Dorenbos, Cullen Jenkins, Evan Mathis and Michael Vick -- are over the age of 30.

To repeat: 30 of the players on this 53-man roster have played for no more than two NFL seasons.

Youth is served.

Along with that, though, is the sense that this is a really good team. Some opinions ...

  • I didn't know how I felt about the quarterback depth heading into training camp. Mike Kafka? I liked him and thought he could make progress, but he hadn't done it yet. So he goes out with the injury, rookie Nick Foles plays terrific football and then Trent Edwards earned a roster spot -- came it and owned it, honestly -- with a lights-out four games. I know he didn't play against the starters, and he didn't play against a lot of players who are on rosters right now, but get this: When Edwards was on the field, he didn't play with a lot of players who made this roster. Damaris Johnson, Chris Polk and, did any of these linemen on the 53-man roster play when Edwards played. He did a brilliant job in the four preseason wins. So, yeah, I feel a whole lot better and, honestly, I feel like the Eagles have a great picture at quarterback with Vick the starter, Foles the future here who has a huge upside and with Edwards, who can go in and win games and who has 30 NFL starters under his belt.
  • OK, so now the Eagles have four halfbacks, and they all have skills. Just how will they use them all? Does Bryce Brown push for the No. 2 halfback job? Does Dion Lewis get a decent number of touches? What kind of role does Chris Polk have? Gotta get the ball to LeSean McCoy and make sure he gets his touches. I understand giving McCoy a rest here and there, but the Eagles also have to make sure the best weapon in this offense has his touches.
  • Colt Anderson is active, but I don't know that he's going to be ready in the first part of the season. He's coming along well, he's rehabbing nicely, and the job he has when he gets on the field is to be a stopper on special teams and play as a fourth safety. For now, Jaiquawn Jarrett is the third safety. The team acquired David Sims, a second-year player who was with the Browns last year, at the expense of a conditional draft pick in 2013. To make room for Sims, the Eagles released Julian Vandervelde.
  • I'm surprised at the Eagles keeping six cornerbacks, but I'm cooking up some schemes. Maybe Trevard Lindley or Brandon Hughes would be that fourth safety. Just a guess. Obviously, Todd Bowles wants bigger corners who can press and who can play physical football. There are 11 defensive backs on this roster and they're all going to have versatile roles.
  • Chas Henry is the punter and the holder for kicks, so let's see if he takes that step forward the Eagles think he can. He has the talent. He has a big leg, good direction, all of that. Henry must be a consistent producer here.
  • Nothing much more to say about the wide receivers. I like the group. I think Riley Cooper is going to make it a really complete group when he returns, and I wonder how many times the team will target Damaris Johnson.
  • Seven draft picks made the team, plus undrafted rookies Johnson and Polk. The only rookies who didn't stuck: offensive lineman Brandon Washington and wide receiver Marvin McNutt. Practice squad for either or both?
  • And of those seven draft picks, there are some big-time roles ahead. Fletcher Cox is basically a starter at defensive tackle. Mychal Kendricks is a starter. Vinny Curry, I think, will not get a lot of reps early in the season. So much depth there. Nick Foles is the No. 2 quarterback. Brandon Boykin is the slot cornerback. Dennis Kelly is a valuable backup offensive lineman. Brown, of course, will be one to watch at running back. Very impressive early respect for the Class of 2012.
  • Casey Matthews made it, so let's hope he gets healthy and flies to the football and stands out on special teams and is a playmaker here.
  • My most improved player from last year to this year? Here's a vote for Cedric Thornton, who treated his offseason the right way and got stronger and a whole lot better at defensive tackle. Phillip Hunt is right there as well. Hunt is a big part of the pass rush and the intensity at defensive end.
  • What are the Eagles going to do with all of those defensive ends? They have a ton of firepower, a ridiculous amount of depth and many options. The Eagles truly kept their 53 best players. That's why there are six defensive ends here, and why there are full fullbacks here and, even, why there are six cornerbacks on the roster.
  • Do I think this roster will look the same on Monday as it does now? Not really, no. But sometimes when you expect a trade, as I did prior to Friday at 9 p.m., you don't get it. And when you don't expect one, the phone rings and a deal is on the table. Stay tuned.
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