Friday, November 28, 2014
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Who makes the cut: safeties

Our look at the Eagles’ roster battles goes to safety today. (We’ve previously examined defensive end, offensive line, running back, cornerback, linebacker and wide receivers/tight ends).

Who makes the cut: safeties

Nate Allen has struggled at times in training camp and exhibition games. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Nate Allen has struggled at times in training camp and exhibition games. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Our look at the Eagles’ roster battles goes to safety today. (We’ve previously examined defensive end, offensive line, running back, cornerback, linebacker and wide receivers/tight ends).

The Eagles have used second round picks on safeties each of the past two years, but there’s a chance neither of those players will be starting on opening day. Instead, two seventh-rounders have shots at the top jobs. All four could make the 53-man roster, though.

Teams must trim rosters down to 80 by Tuesday. Final cuts are on Sept. 3.

Likely to keep: 4-5

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Locks: Nate Allen has looked a step slow as he returns from a torn patella tendon and the knee is still causing pain. Last year’s starter and number two pick will still be on the team, but it's not clear if he'll be starting. Kurt Coleman is smart and tough and it has shown in training camp and the preseason. He's not great in a sprint, but Coleman can anticipate plays and is a willing tackler. Jaiquawn Jarrett was supposed to be the big hitter, but he hasn’t really challenged Coleman for the starting job. Jarrad Page, meanwhile, has emerged as a competitor for the starting slot opposite Coleman. Two weeks ago he would have been on the roster bubble, but with Allen slowed, the Eagles need insurance and Page provides it. He hasn’t been a regular starter since 2008 with the Chiefs, but he's in the mix here. The Eagles will have to keep him around in case Allen’s knee continues to be a problem.

Bubble: Colt Anderson was a stand out on special teams last year, but if the Eagles give Page the starting job that would mean four safeties on the roster. Five could be too many – last year Anderson was the fourth. Anderson's kick off coverage is devalued a bit with the increase in touchbacks, but he also covers punts and blocks on kick and punt returns. He has to hope that makes him valuable enough to keep.

Gone: Jamar Adams is stuck at the back of the pack here. Perhaps he can win another year on the practice squad. Marlin Jackson. Another year another injury. Look for either an injury settlement or for Jackson to wind up on the IR.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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