Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles cut day 53-man roster prediction

Philadelphia Eagles' Donnel Pumphrey in action during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
AP Photo/Michael Perez

The Philadelphia Eagles face some difficult roster decisions on Saturday, when all NFL teams must trim down to a 53-man roster. Competition at defensive back, wide receiver, running back and defensive line has highlighted camp.

General manager Howie Roseman has already made five trades since the start of camp and is always aggressive on the waiver wire after the cutdown date, so the final 53-man roster going into the season is often different than the first 53-man roster.

Here’s our best stab at predicting the first 53-man roster:

Quarterbacks (2)

Carson Wentz

Nick Foles

Analysis: An elbow injury kept Nick Foles out of all four preseason games, but the Eagles are convinced he’ll be fine and don’t need to carry a third QB (Matt McGloin) into the season.

Running backs (4)

Darren Sproles

Wendell Smallwood

LeGarrette Blount

Donnel Pumphrey

Analysis: Donnel Pumphrey needs development and won’t be among the three active on game day. He should bulk up to get that 170-pound frame more suited for the professional level. The Eagles still need to figure out the best roles for Sproles, Smallwood and Blount. Don’t be stunned, though, if the Eagles cut Blount for rookie free agent Corey Clement or a waiver-wire upgrade.

Wide receivers (6)

Alshon Jeffery

Torrey Smith

Nelson Agholor

Mack Hollins

Bryce Treggs

Marcus Johnson

Analysis: No real surprises here. Rookie fifth-rounder Shelton Gibson came on at the end of camp after dropping nearly everything thrown his way for the first two weeks, but Johnson and Treggs were solid performers and have more experience. Gibson can find his way onto the practice squad.

Tight ends (3)

Zach Ertz

Brent Celek

Trey Burton

Analysis: Rookie free agent Billy Brown played well and will probably be retained to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Ertz is poised for his best season to date. He and Carson Wentz continued their burgeoning rapport during the preseason.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) celebrates a touchdown withPhiladelphia Eagles Tight End Zach Ertz (86) in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on January 1, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Offensive linemen (10)

Jason Peters

Isaac Seumalo

Jason Kelce

Brandon Brooks

Lane Johnson

Halapoulivaati Vatai

Dillon Gordon

Stefen Wisniewski

Chance Warmack

Darrell Greene

Analysis: Depth is much stronger this year. Warmack, Wisniewski and Vatai each have starting experience. Gordon can play fullback in short-yardage formations.

Defensive line (9)

Brandon Graham

Fletcher Cox

Tim Jernigan

Vinny Curry

Chris Long

Derek Barnett

Steven Means

Beau Allen

Destiny Vaeao

Analysis: This is a deep, strong group that should be the backbone of the defense. Rookie first-rounder Derek Barnett will be a major part of the third-down pass rush.

Linebacker (6)

Jordan Hicks

Nigel Bradham

Mychal Kendricks

Najee Goode

Kamu Greiger-Hill

Nate Gerry

Analysis: Don’t be surprised if Roseman tries to deepen this group through the waiver wire or deals Mychal Kendricks, a weak-side linebacker who played fewer than 30 percent of snaps last year. Kendricks’ strong preseason could increase his trade value.

Defensive backs (10)

Ronald Darby

Jalen Mills

Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod

Rasul Douglas

Patrick Robinson

Dexter McDougle

Corey Graham

Jaylen Watkins

Chris Maragos

Analysis: Three of these nine — Darby, Graham and McDougle — weren’t even on the team going into training camp. That shows how hard Roseman has tried to overhaul this position, which is the biggest question mark entering the season. It’ll be interesting to see what list injured rookie corner Sidney Jones (Achilles) he’s placed on to start this season.

Special teams (3)

Caleb Sturgis

Donnie Jones

Rick Lovato

Analysis: For the first time since 2007, the Eagles enter the regular season with a long snapper not named Jon Dorenbos. Sturgis and Jones are incumbents.

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