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A Way Too Early Philadelphia Eagles 53-Man Roster Projection: Part 2

The Eagles have had a few practices so far, and it’s way too early to project the 53-man roster. But we’re going to do it anyway. It’s fun, and this will give us a reference point to see how well or poorly I did. Yesterday, I wrote an article projecting who would make the team on offense; you can read that here. Today, we’re focusing on the defense and special teams. Let’s take a look at who I think makes the initial 53-man roster.

Edge: Josh Sweat, Bryce Huff, Brandon Graham, Nolan Smith, Jalyx Hunt (32)


I have the Eagles keeping five edge rushers here. Josh Sweat can be a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but can he bounce back from a rough ending to last season? Bryce Huff (who I will probably call Josh Huff by accident for the foreseeable future) received the largest contract ever given to an undrafted player. The big question with him is whether he can produce the way he did with the Jets in a full-time role, rather than a situational one. There isn’t a world where BG isn’t on the team; he’s having his farewell tour and deserves to go out with a bang. Can Nolan Smith take a step forward this year? My guess is yes. He’s put on some muscle and is a prime candidate for breakout player of the year for the Birds. Jalyx Hunt will be a special teamer this year. For those of you unfamiliar with Hunt, he was a safety before transitioning to an edge rusher. I’m excited to see what the coaches can unlock with a player like Hunt.


DT: Milton Williams, Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Gabe Hall, Moro Ojomo (37)


Milton Williams has his own fan club within our podcast, “The Linc Lineup.” He’s a lock and someone I’m very excited to see in a bigger role. Jordan Davis looks great; he’s lost some weight and claims he’s in the best shape of his life. The Birds will need him to stay healthy this year. Jalen Carter is primed to take another step in his sophomore season. He flashed a lot of potential during his rookie season, but I feel he ran out of gas at the end of the season. I would guess he will be better prepared for the long NFL season with a year under his belt. Gabe Hall is an undrafted free agent that most people are excited about. Projected to go in early Day 3, some look at him as a steal. At 6’6” and 291 pounds, he’s not going to line up along the interior against the bigger offensive linemen. In Vic Fangio’s scheme, I would guess he will primarily play in a 5-technique. Moro Ojomo is someone I really like. He stood out last year in preseason, and I believe he will once again play his way onto the roster.


LB: Devin White, Nakobe Dean, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Zack Baun (41)


If you’ve watched any of the Eagles’ social media posts closely, you would see that for the most part, Devin White is front and center, leading the defense in the offense vs. defense challenges. I think a fresh start in Philly will do him well. Nakobe Dean is hoping for a healthy season to showcase what he can do. A series of unfortunate injuries ruined his second year. Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is probably going to be a fan favorite for those who watched his dad. That first Ax Man celebration is going to be electric. I also don’t think expectations are too high for him, so he can develop without a lot of pressure to perform right away. Zack Baun was believed to be brought in as an edge rusher, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Reports from mini-camp indicate that Baun and White are getting first-team LB reps. The Eagles are clearly high on him, and my guess is he’s a lock to make the roster.


CB: Quinyon Mitchell, Cooper DeJean, Darius Slay, Isaiah Rodgers, Kelee Ringo, Avonte Maddox, Tyler Hall (48)


This is where it gets very interesting. For the first time in forever, the Eagles will have a ton of talent at cornerback. Mitchell, DeJean, Slay, and, as of now, Ringo are locks to make the roster. I think Isaiah Rodgers could be a huge steal. Early reports indicate he hasn’t lost a step and is performing well in camp. I think he makes the team. Avonte Maddox is a good slot CB, and he has the ability to play safety, so I think he makes the initial roster. DeJean could also play safety, but I don’t think the Eagles will cross-train him just yet. Tyler Hall is my last player to make the roster. When he was initially signed, he had a perfect opportunity here, but the draft happened, and we know what happened there. I think due to Sydney Brown potentially starting the season on PUP list, Hall will be on the initial roster. The Eli Ricks fan club is going to hate me for this, but I think he ends up getting traded. He’s a solid young talent that just got caught up in the numbers game.


S: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Reed Blankenship (50)


CJGJ is back, and he brings a much-needed fire that the Eagles desperately lacked last season. Look for him to make some plays and fire up the crowd this season. Reed Blankenship is a great story. A UDFA out of Middle Tennessee State, he needs to improve and be consistent this season to solidify himself as the safety of the future. Sydney Brown, as mentioned earlier, may start the season on the PUP list. If he is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the roster.


P: Braden Mann (51)


He was never going anywhere. Thank God he’s here.


K: Jake Elliott (52)


(Read the reasoning under Braden Mann)


LS: Rick Lovato (53)


(Read the reasoning under Jake Elliott)


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