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NFL Philadelphia Eagles

2012 Philadelphia Eagles Preview: My Final 53-Man Roster Projection

This is my final attempt at projecting the 53-man roster for the Philadelphia Eagles. Roster cuts will be made tomorrow. Click here to read my first roster projection and here to read my second roster projection.

The players are listed as ‘on’ if they made the team and ‘off’ if they missed the team. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Obviously I also have them ranked in order for the players on the team, as well as the players who did not make the team.

Quarterbacks:
On: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards
Off: Mike Kafka

Edwards’ extremely strong preseason moves him ahead of Kafka as the team’s third quarterback. I do not think Kafka will be signed by another NFL team, meaning the Eagles can just pick him up again if an injury occurs.

Running Backs:
On: LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili
Off: Emil Igwenagu

Yeah, I went five running backs. I wouldn’t keep a fullback, but head coach Andy Reid said the Eagles were going to use one in 2012. When Havili didn’t play in the final preseason game, it basically clinched the fact that he is a starter (he’s certainly not trade bait).

I actually think Lewis is the worst of the three young running backs, but he’s the only one with experience and he’s still a good player. Brown simply can’t be cut, based on the tremendous skill he showed running the football during the preseason. Polk could be an IR candidate, based on his shoulder condition that needs surgery, and I think the Eagles will choose to take that path if they add a couple of players from other teams.

Wide Receivers:
On: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson
Off: Mardy Gilyard, Chad Hall, Marvin McNutt

The five guys on don’t need an explanation. None of the three who were cut showed me enough to make the team over a sixth defensive end or a sixth cornerback. Expect Hall to find his way onto the roster at some point this season. He always does. I’d go with Gilyard over McNutt in a real game.

Tight Ends:
On: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
Off: Chase Ford, Brett Brackett

Most NFL teams keep three tight ends. The Eagles are not most NFL teams. Two stay, two go. Ford did jump ahead of Brackett, however.

Offensive Tackles:
On: King Dunlap, Todd Herremans, Dennis Kelly, Demetress Bell
Off: DJ Jones

I do not think Bell will be cut. I still think he’ll start more games than Dunlap this season. I do expect the Eagles to scan the waiver wire for veteran offensive line depth. Don’t forget that offensive linemen often do not turn out the way they should. Ryan Harris was the stud brought in to start at right tackle last season, while Evan Mathis was the veteran insurance depth at guard. But Harris couldn’t stay healthy, and Mathis couldn’t be stopped.

Guards:
On: Evan Mathis, Danny Watkins, Julian Vandervelde
Off: Brandon Washington

No surprises.

Centers:
On: Jason Kelce, Steve Vallos
Off: Dallas Reynolds

This marks the end of the road for Reynolds, a three-year practice squad player. What a shame.

Defensive Tackles:
On: Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton
Off: Antonio Dixon (trade), Frank Trotter, Ollie Ogbu, Landon Cohen

I expect the Eagles to trade Dixon to one of their minor league teams, the Cleveland Browns or Indianapolis Colts, before the Friday trade deadline, for a seventh round pick.

Defensive Ends:
On: Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Phillip Hunt, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Darryl Tapp
Off: Monte Taylor, Xavier Brown

Defensive end is the strongest position on the team. Would you rather keep a sixth wide receiver, such as Chad Hall, or a sixth defensive end, such as Darryl Tapp? Yeah, I’d go with Tapp too. He’ll be a major contributor if Babin doesn’t play in week one, and when Cole misses his annual two games.

Linebackers:
On: DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Akeem Jordan, Jamar Chaney, Brian Rolle, Keenan Clayton
Off: Ryan Rau, Adrian Moten

I think the Eagles put Matthews on injured reserve, the result of his high ankle sprain. He’s the worst of the seven linebackers, in my opinion, but they don’t want to lose him.

Cornerbacks:
On: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes
Off: Trevard Lindley

The NFL is a passing league. If you’ve got six guys who can play, you play them all. Tim McManus of Phillymag had a good point too when he said that if the Eagles cut Hughes, Marsh will be the only player who can play outside when Asomugha moves inside.

Safeties:
On: Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Phillip Thomas
Off: Oshiomogho Atogwe

It’s pretty clear that Atogwe isn’t going to make the team. Consider him this year’s Marlin Jackson. I have Thomas on it for now, but he’s a practice squad candidate if/when the Eagles sign a safety off the waiver wire late on Friday night.

Special Teams:
K: Alex Henery
P: Chas Henry
LS: Jon Dorenbos
Off: Mat McBriar

I originally had McBriar, as we all did, but the Eagles have unofficially given the job to Henry.

PUP: Colt Anderson
IR: Ron Johnson, Brian Hernandez, Jason Peters, Mike Gibson, Casey Matthews, Tom Nelson
Non-Football Illness: Mike Patterson

The new IR rule that allows one player to come off during the season would obviously be applied to Jason Peters, if he recovered. But that’s not going to happen, so my guess would be Matthews.

Oh, and my eight players on the practice squad: Igwenagu, Hall, McNutt, Ford, Washington, Trotter, Rau, Thomas (after he is replaced on the roster). That’s an impressive group of players for a practice squad.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.