Our look at who makes the Eagles’ 53-man roster continues today with a review of the linebackers. (Earlier, we took a look at defensive end, offensive line, running backs and cornerbacks).
On offense the big concern is right tackle. On defense, it’s linebacker. We think the Eagles have the linemen to rush the quarterback and we know their corners have cover skills. But as the d-line races at the quarterback, do they have a group of three linebackers who can stop the run and occasionally cover a tight end?
Ever since the summer spending spree many fans have been hoping for a veteran addition to a very inexperienced linebacker group. It seems that if the Eagles were eager to bring in one of the players already on the market, they would have done so already. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be watching the waiver wire when cuts arrive. If that happens, it probably means bringing in an outside linebacker, since it would be hard to slap even a veteran right into the middle this close to the start of the season.
First cuts come Tuesday when the 90-man roster is pared down to 80. Final cuts are on Sept. 3.
Likely to keep: 5-6.
Locks: Whether or not he starts on opening day, Casey Matthews will be on the team. The Eagles invested a fourth-round pick in him and like his potential. Jamar Chaney will be starting somewhere – either the SAM position he has played since training camp or back in the middle if Matthews falters. Moise Fokou, with 15 career starts, is actually the elder statesman among the starters. Keenan Clayton, a former safety, is great in coverage. The team wants him to get more physical; he should get more chances this year to show if he can do it.
Near lock: Brain Rolle is listed at five-foot-10 and that might be the biggest exaggeration on the Eagles official roster. Still, the team thought enough of him to give him a shot with the first team nickel. It’s a sign that they like his ability. Rolle should get a chance to contribute on special teams to start the year.
Bubble: Akeem Jordan can play all three linebacker positions and has 20 career starts, but he hasn’t had many opportunities this preseason. In the snaps he has played, he hasn’t shined. If the Eagles bring in a veteran he’s probably the odd man out. Greg Lloyd had knee surgery as a junior, was hampered by the injury as a senior and suffered a high ankle sprain in training camp. Sounds like the seventh rounder is an IR candidate.
Gone: Brandon Peguese, Rashad Jeanty.