The Eagles are months away from making final cuts, but after a flurry of free agent signings and trades, their 2020 roster is starting to come into focus.
As we prepare to enter draft season, let’s take a look at what that 53-man roster looks like,with Version 3.0 of my Eagles Mock Draft built in:
The Eagles decision to pass on a number of veteran quarterbacks and stick with Sudfeld is somewhat surprising. Sudfeld has all the tools to be a winning quarterback in the NFL, but the team benched him from his backup role last season in favor of Josh McCown. McCown coming back is still possible, but as of now, the Eagles’ replacement for an injured Carson Wentz would be a guy who has never play significant time in an NFL game. That is concerning. If Sudfeld struggles at all during camp, look for a veteran to be brought in very quickly, just like last year.
Whether the Eagles use a draft pick on a rookie quarterback will be interesting to see. Their attempt at landing one last year backfired badly with Clayton Thorson. Keeping both Sudfeld and a rookie on the roster seems redundant, especially behind Wentz, but that seems to the Eagles’ plan as of right now.
Howie Roseman mentioned that the Eagles have had five running backs on their roster each of the last two seasons, which means there is still work to be done and likely a veteran to be added. As of now, however, the top three are Sanders, Scott and Holyfield. The Eagles adding Holyfield at the end of last season was interesting, considering he didn’t play and they didn’t really have a need at running back. That was a move likely made with the 2020 season in mind, which means Holyfield will likely enter camp with a good chance at making the roster. Look for the Eagles to add both a veteran and a rookie to the depth chart. Perine, 5-10, 210 pounds, is one of the better third-down backs in the draft as he is a strong blocker, has great hands and has experience running a number of different routes out of the back field.
This is the position everyone wish they had a crystal ball for, as the team’s need is obvious and the answer isn’t. A rookie will be coming, likely in the first round and potentially even in the second round as well. Jefferson and Hamler would be a dream come true for the Eagles, and although it will require their first two picks -- plus maybe a future pick to trade up in the second round -- it would give the Eagles a dynamic duo for Wentz to develop with, which seems to be exactly what they are looking for. The key word at this position seems to be youth, despite the two players at the top of the roster. If Jeffery is still with the team in training camp there is a good chance he starts the year on PUP, which would leave him off the roster.
Richard Rodgers is gone after signing a deal with the Washington Redskins, robbing the Eagles of the veteran backup they have had (at times) the last two seasons. This feels like the year the Eagles draft a tight end higher than you might think. Ertz will be 30 midway through next season and is looking for a new deal. The uncertainty around his future could cause the Eagles to draft a tight end they actually think could develop into a starter, or at least be able to split reps with Goedert. Moss fits that description perfectly, as he was extremely productive in college, but isn’t considered one of the top-flight tight-end prospects in this year’s draft.
The Eagles’ starting offensive line, if they stay healthy and Dillard isn’t a disaster, should be fine. It is the backups that need some work. Pryor can be counted on to play either tackle or guard, although he doesn’t have the experience that Halapoulivaati Vaitai did. Roseman mentioned this being a big offseason for Mailata, and although he isn’t a lock to make the roster, it does seem like this is the year he either wins a roster spot or is released. Herbig will get a real chance at the backup center position, although that could change quickly if the team picks up an interior offensive linemen high in the draft, something that shouldn’t be ruled out.
Barring a trade for Yannick Ngakoue, the top three at this position seem set in Graham, Barnett and Sweat. That trio is concerning when you consider Barnett has been a disappointment and Sweat has yet to get serious playing time. A defensive end is possible at No. 21, especially if there is a run on receivers. This will be a make-or-break offseason for Miller, who sat on the bench last season. Avery will make the roster simply because of the draft capital they team traded for him last season. Greenard is an interesting prospect, standing 6-foot-3, 262 pounds with a good collection of pass rush moves that should be available in the third-or-fourth round. He finished with 9.5 sacks, 32 hurries, 18 quarterback hits and 47 total pressures last season in just 12 games for Florida.
This is perhaps the deepest position on the team, especially if Jackson comes back healthy and the player he was prior to the serious foot injury that ended his 2019 season. Strowbridge is a nice late-round option, as he finished with 10 tackles for a loss last season and 16.5 overall over the last two seasons. He was productive as a pass rusher as well, finishing with eight sacks and 30 pressures in 12 games last season.
If defensive tackle is the deepest position on the team, than the position that will line up behind them is the least important position on the team. Edwards and Gerry will get the bulk of the snaps on defense, with Brown trying to steal some away. The Eagles will almost never have three linebackers on the field, which is a good thing, because this is a group that has a ton of question marks and at this point can’t be counted on to make an impact.
Seven defensive backs is a lot. Especially when only one of them is really good. The Eagles secondary could be a bit of a mess early on, with Slay the only one having a defined role, and the rest competing for playing time. The two players most likely to be released on this list are Jones and Williams, both of whom will have to earn a job in training camp. Slay, Maddox, Robey-Coleman and LeBlanc are all locks, and a rookie will likely make his way onto the roster as well. The number of cornerbacks very well could end up being six instead of seven. A four-year starter at Pittsburgh, Jackson has plenty of experience playing in both man-and-zone coverage as well as lining up both in the slot and on the outside. He is a bit undersize at 5-foot-11, but he has shown the ability to make plays on the ball, knocking away 46 passes in four years.
The only sure thing at this position is McLeod, which is an issue when you consider how solid the Eagles play at safety has been over the last few seasons. The Eagles appear to be serious about having Jalen Mills replace Malcolm Jenkins, an interesting but also risky plan. Parks will see an increased role, but this is his first year in the defense. It wouldn’t be surprising if a veteran is signed at one point to compete in camp, potentially taking Epps spot. A rookie is also possible, but the team seems to be willing to go forward with Mills, McLeod and Parks as their top three safeties.
There will be no competition in camp for either Elliott or Johnston. You can rule out a long-snapper competition as well.
1st -- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
2nd -- KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State (Trade Up)
3rd -- Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
4th -- Jason Strowbridge, DT, North Carolina
4th -- Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
5th -- Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
5th -- Lemical Perine, RB, Florida
6th -- Steven Montez, QB, Colorado