Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Who makes the roster: Receivers and tight ends

We continue our look at the final 53-man roster with ...

Who makes the roster: Receivers and tight ends

Hank Baskett´s ability to contribute on special teams could help him secure a roster spot. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Hank Baskett's ability to contribute on special teams could help him secure a roster spot. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

We continue our look at the final 53-man roster with ...

 

WIDE RECEIVER

 

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True story: A reader asked me yesterday, after he read a story on ESPN’s rumor mill, if the Eagles were interested in obtaining Vincent Jackson because the team’s wide receivers, per the “report,” were struggling in the preseason. He was being serious. I nearly fell over.

 

If there’s one area in which Eagles fans don’t have to worry about it’s at receiver. Despite signs that suggest an emerging divaesque behavior, DeSean Jackson has clearly become one of the most exciting players in the NFL. He’s the Eagles biggest star (and he knows it).

 

There has been some preseason chatter that Jackson might not even lead the team in receiving, that Jeremy Maclin, a budding talent, will. I almost bought into this thinking, but don’t see it now. There’s absolutely no reason to think Maclin won’t rise to another level this season, but Jackson is on another plane right now. So, no, fair reader, the Eagles aren’t interested in Vincent Jackson.

 

So if Jackson and Maclin are no-brainers to make the team, as is slot receiver Jason Avant, where does that leave the rest of the group? Last year, the Eagles carries seven receivers on the 53-man roster after they had final cuts. Eventually they got to five after they released Hank Baskett and traded Brandon Gibson. I think they’ll get to five a little quicker this year.

 

Rookie Riley Cooper is assured a spot on the roster. Whether that means he’s the No. 4 receiver or not, I don’t think it really matters. There are only so many passes to go around. Cooper might not even dress on game days if he can’t prove to the coaches that he can contribute on special teams. That’s where Baskett comes in, and in my estimation, beats out Kelley Washington.

 

It’s a toss-up as to who’s better on special teams, but Baskett is a better receiver, knows the offense almost as well as he knows Kendra’s (fill in the blank), and he’s one of Andy Reid’s guys.

 

Some have suggested that Chad Hall, because he can return and because he can run out of the backfield, makes the team. I don’t see it. He’s a nice versatile player that has often been compared to Danny Amendola, but he just doesn’t have the now-Rams receiver’s speed and burst. I think Hall lands on the practice squad, where he may or may not last, along with former Penn Stater Jordan Norwood.

 

Keeps the playbook: Jackson, Maclin, Avant, Cooper and Baskett.

On the bubble: Washington and Hall.

Call your agent: Dobson CollinsJared Perry and Norwood.

 

TIGHT END

 

I’m fairly sure the Eagles aren’t settled on their tight ends. As they’ve done in the past, the Eagles are sure to scan the waiver wire in a week’s time and grab one of those prototypical tight ends (see: Alex Smith) they seem to always have on their roster.

 

Right now, rookie ClayHarbor, Cornelius Ingram and Nate Lawrie aren’t cutting it when it comes to blocking. Harbor is still learning the discipline after not being asked to do it much in college. Ingram was almost never asked to block in college either and he’s got other worries -- like whether he’s going to make the team.

 

Ingram hasn’t been anywhere close to the player he flashed at last year’s training camp. Even the Eagles are now admitting that he’s struggling and that his knee or calf – depending upon who you ask -- is a problem. It’s impossible not to notice how swollen Ingram’s left calf is right now.

 

I think that makes him an ideal candidate to land back on injured reserve. He’s a great kid, works his tail off and is only making fifth-round money. What’s to lose? The only way the Eagles cut him is if there’s something structurally wrong with the knee, which is a possibility.

 

Keeps the playbook: Brent Celek and Harbor.

On the bubble: Ingram.

Call your agent: Lawrie.

 

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

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
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