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Predicting the Eagles' final 53

Taking at shot at trying to guess what the Eagles' final roster, the first for Chip Kelly, will look like.

Predicting the Eagles' final 53

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

What if the season opened on Sunday and the Eagles had to get down to 53 players today? What if there weren’t two more preseason games left to help Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman make their personnel decisions? What would the roster look like?

Glad you asked:

QUARTERBACK

Keeping: (3) Mike Vick (starter), Nick Foles, Matt Barkley.

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Practice Squad Possibility: Dennis Dixon

Comment: Trading Foles isn’t a consideration. Chip Kelly knows going in Vick probably won’t make it through the season. He likes Barkley, but as his No. 2 QB right here, right now? Nope.

 

RUNNING BACK

Keeping: (3) LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk.

Practice Squad Possibility: Maybe Matthew Tucker, but I doubt it.

Comment: They took a flier on Felix Jones, but he never really pushed Brown or Polk, and was traded Friday to the Steelers. Polk could end up leaping over Brown, but Polk is a between-the-tackles runner and Brown’s strength is on the edge. So both will get carries behind Shady.

 

TIGHT END

Keeping: (3) Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey

Practice Squad Possibility: Emil Igwenagu, Derek Carrier

Comment: Look for Ertz to be a major red-zone producer.

 

WIDE RECEIVER

Keeping: (6) DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Clay Harbor, Greg Salas.

Close, But No Cigar: Russell Shepard

Comment: Harbor is going to be a TE/WR swingman, which saves Chip Kelly a roster spot to use elsewhere. I think he’ll keep five wideouts in addition to Harbor, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he only kept four. If Shepard doesn’t make it and no one else claims him, he’ll likely be on the practice squad.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Keeping: (9) Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Julian Vandervelde, Danny Watkins, Dennis Kelly.

Close, But No Cigar: Dallas Reynolds, Matt Tobin, Matt Tennant.

Practice Squad Possibility: Michael Bamiro.

Comment: Barbre’s ability to play both inside or outside has sewn up a roster spot for him. Watkins could get cut, but I think the Eagles will hang on to him. I’ve got Vandervelde beating out Reynolds and Tennant for the backup center job.

 

DEFENSIVE LINE

Keeping: (7) Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Isaac Sopoaga, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Damion Square, Clifton Geathers.

Close, But No Cigar: Antonio Dixon

Practice Squad Possibility: David King, Joe Kruger, Daryell Walker.

Comment: Curry isn’t a good fit for a 3-4, but can be effective as an inside nickel pass-rusher in four-man fronts.

 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Keeping: (4) Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Chris McCoy.

Comment: As evidenced by their acquisition Friday of Adrian Robinson, Eagles are looking to improve depth here. Don’t be surprised to see them make another move after final cutdowns.

 

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Keeping: (4) DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho.

Close, But No Cigar: Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney.

Comment: Matthews has been hurt and Chaney hasn’t done much. So it’s probably the end of the line for both of these Andy Reid draft picks, even with Matthews’ Oregon connections. This is another position that could get some waiver-wire help.

 

CORNERBACK

Keeping: (6) Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Brandon Hughes, Eddie Whitley, Jordan Poyer.

Close, But No Cigar: Curtis Marsh

Comment: Even if Marsh hadn’t fractured his hand, I don’t think he would have made the team. Whitley has shown some promise. Poyer could end up on the practice squad, but gives Billy Davis a guy he can use at both corner and safety. Eagles will be watching the waiver wire for corners, particularly one with inside-outside versatility.

 

SAFETY

Keeping: (5) Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman.

Close, But No Cigar: Kenny Phillips, David Sims.

Comment: Phillips’ knees just aren’t reliable enough to warrant keeping him around. Anderson will make the team because of his special teams prowess, but you can’t keep just four safeties on your roster if he’s one of them. Another position that could be addressed after cutdown day.

 

PUNTER

Keeping: (1) Donnie Jones

Close, But No Cigar: Brad Wing

Comment: Wing has eight of the Eagles’ nine punt attempts in the first two preseason games, but Jones will be the Eagles’ season-opening punter.

 

PLACEKICKER

Keeping: (1) Alex Henery

Comment: Henery has missed just 7 of 58 attempts his first two seasons.

 

LONG SNAPPER

Keeping: (1) Jon Dorenbos

Comment: Eagles brought in James Winchester to do the long-snapping last week after Dorenbos suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Winchester is still around, but Dorenbos appears safe. Winchester can’t do magic tricks.

 

 

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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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