Well, here it is. Cut day. Rosters must be trimmed down from 75 to 53 by 9PM tonight. The Eagles are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make. Ultimately, here’s how I see the roster shaking out:
Quarterback: 3 (Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards)
I don’t see any way Andy Reid can justify keeping Mike Kafka over Edwards at this point. Edwards seized the opportunity he was given after Kafka’s injury and played spectacularly this preseason. With Foles already on the roster, why do the Eagles need another developmental QB in Kafka? I’d rather have Edwards as a veteran who could provide a steadying hand if Vick gets hurt and Foles falters. Look for the Eagles to try to trade Kafka for a 6th or 7th rounder, though they’ll cut him if they can’t get a pick for him.
Running Back: 5 (Lesean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili)
I think Brown and Polk have both played well enough where you simply can’t leave either one off the roster. Since Polk hasn’t gotten any reps at fullback yet, Havili makes the team as the lead blocker for Lesean McCoy.
Wide Receiver: 5 (Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson)
They’ll be thin at the position for Week 1 and 2 while Cooper recovers from his collarbone injury, but I really think that the Eagles will take 5 WRs in an effort to have flexibility for other positions. I’d rather keep Chris Polk on the roster than Mardy Gilyard or Chad Hall. Hall will likely be stashed on the practice squad along with Marvin McNutt in case of an injury at WR.
Tight End: 2 (Brent Celek, Clay Harbor)
Brent Brackett made a case for himself with 2 TDs in the last 2 preseason games, but there’s really no need for the Eagles to carry a 3rd TE.
Offensive Line: 9 (Todd Herremans, Danny Watkins, Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis, King Dunlap, Demetress Bell, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde, Steve Vallos)
No real surprises here. Bell makes it because of his fully guaranteed salary, Vallos makes it over Dallas Reynolds and Vandervelde beats out Brandon Washington and Mike Gibson. Washington is a practice squad candidate.
There’s our offense: 24 players. Different roster breakdown with 5 RBs and 5 WRs instead of 4 and 6, but quality at RB trumps quantity at WR in my opinion.
Defensive Line: 11 (Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Darryl Tapp, Phillip Hunt, Derek Landri, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Antonio Dixon)
Tough to keep 11 DL on a roster, but there’s too much talent there to cut anyone. The only player on the list that didn’t thrive this preseason was Dixon, but he stays on the roster for DT depth since there are only 4 other DTs on the team. Dixon will likely be used in short yardage situations since he struggles as a pass rusher in Washburn’s scheme.
Linebacker: 6 (Mychal Kendricks, Demeco Ryans, Akeem Jordan, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle)
Rolle solidified his roster spot with a nice bounce-back performance against the Jets. I expect Chaney to take Jordan’s starting spot at some point this year, and they aren’t going to give up on Matthews a year after naming him the Week 1 starter at MLB. Tough to cut Keenan Clayton (who I personally think they should convert to safety) and Ryan Rau, who had an excellent preseason. I’d love to see Rau on the practice squad.
Cornerback: 6 (Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes)
I think they take Hughes as a 6th cornerback because of his special teams ability, and because I don’t think there are 4 safeties worthy of making the team on this roster.
Safety: 3 (Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett)
OJ Atogwe has been too banged up this preseason to show anything, and he can’t be relied upon as a backup. Neither can Jarrett, which is why I think the Eagles bring in a safety who is cut from someone else’s roster before all is said and done.
There’s our 26-man defense. Thin at safety, but deep at every other position.
Specialists: 3 (Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos)
The Eagles evidently decided that Henry’s holding abilities were worth more to the team than McBriar’s slight edge in punting ability since Henry won the punting job.