Philadelphia Eagles roster watch: Is a shakeup underway at defensive end?

Shareef Miller, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Shareef Miller, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Don’t be shocked if the Philadelphia Eagles have a shakeup at defensive end.

What if two guys that no one’s expecting a ton out of played their way onto the roster? Think about it. What if the Philadelphia Eagles had two guys that were clearly outplaying two other guys that we’ve all talked about being on the final 2020 53-man roster since the regular season ended last January?

They’d have to go with the best guys right? No seriously, the goal is to put the best players on the field, isn’t it? Isn’t the point of training camp to make sure the best team possible is assembled? If that’s what we’re doing here, there’s a strong chance that the Eagles defensive end position might look a lot different than we originally imagined.

There’s just one issue. Philly has a tendency to be stubborn. Even though they’re clearly wrong about something, they’ll stick with a flawed plan that they should have given up on. How else do you explain Mike Groh sitting in the offensive coordinator’s chair for two years and Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, and Nate Sudfeld hanging around for so long?

Don’t look now, but two underdogs are outplaying two of the favorites at Philadelphia Eagles camp?

For as long as most of us can remember, many of us have stated that Philly’s depth chart at defensive end would probably look like this when September rolled around: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Genard Avery, Shareef Miller, and whoever else played their way into that sixth roster spot. Then, the ‘Birds’ added Vinny Curry prior to camp. call it a hunch, but it’s safe to say he’s making the roster

We can agree on that right? We’ve all said that six defensive ends sounds appropriate, haven’t we? Cool! let’s dig a little deeper.

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That theory has a few issues in its presentation. One, it proves that we all forgot about Joe Ostman. We seem to have forgotten about just how good he looked during 2019’s offseason until he, unfortunately, suffered a season-ending injury at last year’s open practice.

Here’s the second thing. Philly traded for Genard Avery at the deadline last year. The idea was that was done to help give him a headstart in 2020. The ‘Birds’ also drafted Shareef Miller in the fourth round of 2019’s draft. To make long stories short, if you used that as some of your ammunition for believing that Avery and Miller were shoo-ins to make 2020’s squad no one would have blamed you. Here’s where things get complicated.

Philly got nothing out of Miller as a rookie. He and Avery might be having the worst camps out of all of these defensive ends (Avery also got hurt on Day 7 of camp and left the field), and so far, Casey Toohill and Joe Ostman just look better than Avery and Miller do.

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At the time of this story being published, Game 1 for the Eagles is less than 20 days away. If the ‘Birds’ want to be right, they’ll continue to push Miller and Avery as the fifth and sixth defensive ends on this team. If the goal is to field the best team possible, as it should be, it may be time for a shakeup. Right now, it’s obvious that Toohill and Ostman are outplaying Miller and Avery.