It’s that time of the year again.
Preseason games are about to wrap up, and with the regular season right around the corner, teams will be forced to make plenty of decisions (some tougher than others) in the coming days thanks to the NFL’s Aug. 30 deadline for cutting rosters to 53 players.
The Eagles trimmed their lineup less than a week ago in the mandated move from 90 to 75 players, but the time for finalizing the active roster is fast approaching.
That being said, here’s one writer’s prediction of how the 2014 Eagles 53-man roster will shake out:
Quarterback: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley
G.J. Kinne seems to be well liked by the Eagles, but he has practice squad eligibility. Barkley has too much potential to be left off the final roster.
Running back: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, Kenjon Barner
If final rosters had 55 players rather than 53, it’d be easy to see the Eagles keeping both Matthew Tucker and Henry Josey as well. The team will probably try to keep them around in some fashion, but Barner provides immediate special teams help.
Wide receiver: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Brad Smith
Arrelious Benn and Damaris Johnson are among the handful of guys who simply didn’t do enough to warrant a guaranteed role.
Tight end: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey
Rookie Trey Burton is the only other option at tight end, and he seems more fitted for the practice squad.
Offensive tackle: Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly
Kelly could be swapped out during the season after Lane Johnson returns from his four-game suspension.
Offensive guard: Evan Mathis, Todd Herremans, Matt Tobin
OT Dennis Kelly has some experience at guard, too, so three players figure to be enough.
Center: Jason Kelce, David Molk
Incumbent backup Julian Vandervelde was recently waived, solidifying an opening for Molk.
Defensive end: Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Brandon Bair, Taylor Hart
Competing backup Damion Square has versatility, but Hart was just drafted by the Eagles and is likely to stick around.
Nose tackle: Bennie Logan, Beau Allen
Even if Logan makes strides this year, the rookie Allen has all but guaranteed himself a sizable role thanks to a big preseason.
Outside linebacker: Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Marcus Smith, Travis Long, Bryan Braman
Only Josh Kaddu seems out of the running for a role as either a pass rusher or special teams player.
Inside linebacker: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode
Casey Matthews could sneak onto the roster if one of the OLBs (perhaps Long) doesn’t make the cut. Emmanuel Acho, meanwhile, could be a practice squad candidate.
Cornerback: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, Jaylen Watkins, Roc Carmichael
Carmichael hasn’t set the stage on fire in the preseason, but he’s a more experienced reserve than Watkins, who’s all but locked into a job as a fourth-round draft pick.
Safety: Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Chris Maragos, Earl Wolff
Rookie Ed Reynolds seems like a prime candidate for the practice squad.
Special teams: Alex Henery (kicker), Donnie Jones (punter), Jon Dorenbos (long snapper)
As cloudy as Henery’s future looks, it’s hard to see the Eagles replacing him with Cody Parkey after just two games of limited preseason action by the latter.