After the most mundane and vanilla Philadelphia Eagles preseason that I can remember, cut down day is finally here.
Let’s take a look at who made the team …
QUARTERBACKS: Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld
Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist in the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans and Cody Kessler subsequently suffered a concussion in Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading to the signing of Josh McCown. McCown tossed a pair of touchdowns when the Eagles battled the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, completing 17-of-24 passes for 192 yards.
Fifth-round rookie Clayton Thorson struggled in the game against Tennessee, going 2-of-9 and it didn’t get much better for him after that. He was the only draft pick to not make the team.
RUNNING BACKS: Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement
Clement returned from his torn ACL injury in Week 3 and solidified himself as the fourth running back on the roster in that game after galloping for a couple nice early runs. He finished with 25 yards on seven carries.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson prefers his running backs to catch passes out of the backfield, which is why Clement made it over Josh Adams, who looks more stiff and uncomfortable in that area. Adams was the Eagles’ leading rusher in 2018. Wendell Smallwood was also let go after three years with the team. He ran hard, but struggled in pass protection and fell victim to a crowded backfield.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Mack Hollins
The Eagles chose the special teams ace Hollins over quick and jittery Greg Ward, who was cut by the team for a third straight summer. Hollins played 28 snaps in the preseason finale against the New York Jets and caught just one pass for six yards. Hollins recorded 16 receptions for 226 yards and a touchdown during his rookie season, but missed the 2018 campaign with a groin injury and the early portion of the summer with a hip injury.
TIGHT ENDS: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert
Richard Rodgers was placed on season-ending injured reserve due to a lower left left injury he suffered during the Eagles and Ravens joint practices. It’s possible that if Rodgers’ injury isn’t season ending he will be released with an injury settlement and then be added to the active roster when he is healthy.
Rodgers missed the first 10 weeks of the 2018 season with a knee injury. The former Green Bay Packers tight end had never missed a game in his six-year career prior to 2018. I thought Rodgers’ injury would pave the way for Perkins to make the team, but he was released.
This is something to watch as other teams make their cuts because I don’t expect the Eagles to head into the year with only two tight ends. I believe they’ll sign someone prior to Week 1, but that means someone else will have to be released.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata, Nate Herbig, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Jason Kelce
Dillard was the story of the preseason among the Eagles’ linemen.
Dillard’s pass sets have been really clean. He gets into them very quickly and seamlessly. His feet are quick, his arms get extended, he changes direction easily and showcases fluidity and balance when mirroring pass rushers. The athleticism he possesses makes it tough for edge rushers to turn the corner on him in pass protection.
The run blocking has been a pleasant surprise. It was a knock on him coming out, but to be fair the Cougars didn’t tote the rock often and tape in that area was limited.
DEFENSIVE ENDS: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller
Hall was the MVP of the preseason, finishing with an NFL-leading four sacks to go along with three forced fumbles, four tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits.
With a reputation of being an athletic but light pass rusher at 260, Hall packed on 30 pounds during the offseason as he has transitioned to a 4-3 defensive end after playing linebacker with the Houston Texans last year. It has certainly paid dividends.
I was a bit surprised to see Miller make the team, I didn’t think the Eagles would keep a sixth defensive end, but he was drafted in the fourth round and it would’ve been tough to try and sneak him onto the practice squad.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway
The Eagles waived Treyvon Hester, the hero of the double doink. There is obviously a plethora of depth at the defensive tackle position already, but this cut is still a bit of a surprise. I thought were going to keep 10 defensive tackles.
Ridgeway, who was traded for in April for a seventh-round pick, beat out Hester for the fourth defensive tackle spot on the roster.
LINEBACKERS: Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards
Edwards made the team!
The undrafted Wisconsin product made one final statement in the preseason finale against the New York Jets, recording 10 tackles. He was a tackling machine all summer and was certainly deserving of make the 53.
CORNERBACKS: Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc (PUP: Jalen Mills)
Who will be the Eagles’ starting cornerback opposite of Ronald Darby next Sunday? Jones got a lot of hype during Training Camp, but struggled during the games. He doesn’t look comfortable in off-coverage, seemingly not trusting and eyes and breaking on the football. With the way Douglas closed the 2018 campaign, coupled with his impressive summer, I believe he’ll be the one starting with Darby in the opener.
Veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick was released Friday, but he could return after Week 1. He would not come on a guaranteed contract since he didn’t make the initial 53-man roster.
SAFETIES: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien, Rudy Ford
I knew Johnathan Cyprien was going to make the team, but I was curious if the Eagles would find a way to get Rudy Ford on the roster for his special teams prowess with Chris Maragos no longer in Philadelphia.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Cameron Johnston, Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato