Wed, Aug. 15: Offensive line
Thur., Aug. 16: Defensive tackles
Fri., Aug. 17: Cornerbacks
Mon., Aug. 20: Running backs
Tues., Aug. 21: Wide receivers / tight ends
Wed., Aug. 22: Linebackers
Thur., Aug. 23: Safeties
Fri., Aug. 24: Quarterbacks / Specialists
Mon., Aug. 27: Defensive ends
LIKELY TO KEEP: 6
WHO STAYS: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Akeem Jordan
WHO GOES: Ryan Rau, Monte Simmons, Adrian Moten, Keenan Clayton
The Eagles’ linebacking corps will be judged by the first two names on the “Who stays” list: Ryans and Kendricks. They were marquee offseason acquisitions – Ryans via trade, Kendricks in the second round of the draft – and both will start.
The Eagles are hoping Ryans is the answer in the middle of the defense, and he was one of the best defensive players in the NFL before suffering an Achilles injury and the Houston Texans switching to a 3-4 defensive alignment. Ryans is still amid his transition to the Eagles, but he insists he’s all set for the season.
With Kendricks starting at strong-side linebacker, the “competition” in the Eagles starting unit is at weak-side linebacker. Rolle is currently the front-runner to start at that spot, but don't write off Chaney. Chaney is currently coming back from a hamstring injury. He offers experience in the Eagles’ defense and more size than Rolle.
Both will make the roster, though. Matthews, who is dealing with a high ankle sprain, also looks to be on the roster. He can contribute on special teams and knows the defense better this season than last year.
Most of the competition is for the sixth linebacker spot, which must be a key special teams player. Jordan and Clayton are the frontrunners. I’m going with Jordan because of his special teams prowess and ability to be the backup strong-side linebacker, but don't write off Clayton. Clayton, a converted safety, is adept in coverage and is pushing for the job. He’s in his third season after being selected in the fourth round in 2010 and is two years younger than Jordan. Clayton will work in the final two preseason games to make it a difficult competition.
Look for at least one of those other names to end up on practice squad. Simmons, who spent last year with the 49ers’ practice squad, could be good player in that spot to develop.