Eagles roster projection: Marshall makes cut as fifth RB

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Eagles coach Doug Pederson has to cut the roster to 53 players after Thursday's preseason finale.

Most of the tough decisions have already been made with regard to the Eagles roster. The most interesting ones from here on out might involve players who are currently on other rosters. Offensive line and wide receiver are two places the Eagles could look at bolster the bottom of their depth chart. 

For now, here's our projected 53: 

QUARTERBACK (3)

LOCKS (3): Sam Bradford, Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel

RUNNING BACK (5)

LOCKS (2): Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles

PROJECTED (2): Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner

SURPRISE (1): Byron Marshall isn’t mentioned by a lot of people as a keeper given the solid performance Kenjon Barner has turned in this preseason, but the Eagles seem to be valuing young talent (C.J. Smith, Paul Turner) and Marshall might not be a lock to make it through waivers. If the Eagles can’t keep five running backs, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Marshall make the team over Barner or Smallwood. Again, Barner’s played very well this preseason, but he is 27 years old, has limited upside, and isn’t as hard of a runner as Marshall. The Eagles gave Marshall a lot of run against the Colts and he responded with 10 carries for 40 yards and a 13-yard reception. With Wendell Smallwood's inability to stay on the field for more than a few days at a time, the Eagles could use some depth. 

WIDE RECEIVER (5)

LOCKS (3): Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Nelson Agholor

PROJECTED (1): Josh Huff

SURPRISE (1): This might not be much of a surprise at this point, but Paul Turner gets a spot after doing everything right throughout training camp and the preseason.

TIGHT END (4)

LOCKS (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton

PROJECTED (1): Chris Pantale

SURPRISE (0): The Eagles seem to want to keep four tight ends, and that makes sense if they plan on running some three tight-end sets. Pantale is also a significant special teams contributor.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

LOCKS (8): Brandon Brooks, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Isaac Semaulo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Tobin, Stefen Wisniewski

SURPRISE (?): The surprise is how long it takes to find out the results of a B sample. Let’s assume Johnson is indeed suspended. This is an obvious area where the Eagles could look to add a 53-man member off the waiver wire. There are only 13 linemen currently on the roster. One of them is Johnson. Dillon Gordon seems to be a practice squad guy. He only got 14 snaps against the Colts. The other three are undrafted rookie Darrell Greene, third-year guard/center Barrett Jones, and Josh Andrews, who was on the practice squad last year. It’s worth noting that the Chiefs only kept eight offensive lineman last year.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

LOCKS (5): Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan

PROJECTED (3): Marcus Smith, Steven Means, Beau Allen

SURPRISE (1): I have no idea whether they think Bruce Gaston is better than Taylor Hart. One of them should make the roster as the fourth defensive tackle.

LINEBACKERS (5)

LOCKS (4): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Stephen Tulloch

PROJECTED (1): Najee Goode

SURPRISE (0): They could keep one of the young LBs in Myke Tavarres or Quentin Gause, but they seem like decent bets to make the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

LOCKS (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll, Ron Brooks

PROJECTED (4): Jaylen Mills, Jaylen Watkins, Eric Rowe, C.J. Smith

SURPRISE (1): Chris Maragos. The Eagles had an awful night on special teams, with a punt block and a big return. Maragos won’t contribute much on defense, but I’m projecting they give him a spot to help stabilize the coverage units.

SPECIALISTS (4)

LOCKS (3): Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos, Caleb Sturgis/Cody Parkey

PROJECTED (1): Bryan Braman.

Notable Cuts: Ed Reynolds, JaCorey Shepherd, Cody Parkey, Quentin Gause, Myke Tavarres, Don Cherry, Blake Countess, Cayleb Jones, Marcus Johnson, David Watford