Returning Eagles from last year's roster who enter training camp in hot water

Several of the familiar faces aren't guaranteed anything as Philly inches closer to training camp and the preseason.
Eli Ricks, Philadelphia Eagles
Eli Ricks, Philadelphia Eagles / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Who watches wrestling? Remember Wrestlemania XL? How cool was that? The Philadelphia Eagles' home, Lincoln Financial Field... Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson crashed the party. The Rock, John Cena, and The Undertaker appeared, but the night's highlight, as much as we love Roman Reigns, was seeing Cody Rhodes "finish the story".

Speaking of stories, it would be nice to see the Birds finish one of their own, one we have been entertained by for a while. There is hope that this year's squad can deliver a happy ending. Most of you are very familiar with the events.

Several familar faces enter training camp knowing they are in hot water.

Nick Sirianni's era as head coach began with a postseason appearance we weren't expecting. Philly qualified for the Super Bowl as the NFC's representative during his second season at the helm. We all know how that turned out. In a night, a team that had a chance to be the best we had ever seen became the most disappointing.

We thought last year was about closing the deal and returning to the big stage to win it all. It wasn't meant to be, but there's an opportunity to return to the mountaintop. The roster is loaded but also lacking depth. Before we get too deep, however, we should slow down.

Nothing happens until we reach training camp. Is it safe to say several Birds who were a part of last year's roster enter training camp in much warmer water than they're used to?

Eli Ricks and Zech McPhearson, cornerbacks

Okay, Zech McPhearson technically wasn't on the roster last season. A preseason campaign-ending injury took care of that, but we thought he was the favorite to win the job of backup slot corner before that happened. The plot has thickened since then.

Avonte Maddox is still hanging around but on a one-year deal. Philly added Cooper DeJean in the NFL Draft. That's bad news for Zech. That brings us to Eli Ricks.

An undrafted free agent added post-2023 NFL Draft, Eli's chances of making the roster again were lessened by the reinstatement of Isiah Rodgers and Quinyon Mitchell's addition by way of the most recent NFL Draft.

A final spot on the 53-man roster could come down to a battle between Ricks and Josh Jobe, but the issue is Jobe is the better special teams player.

Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson, edege rushers

Okay, we're still cheating here a tad. Taron Jackson wasn't actually a part of last year's 53-man roster. He was dismissed during final roster cuts sans preseason, but he was added to the scout team next day.

He remained there until signed to a futures deal on January 18. He and Patrick Johnson have tough hills to climb if they're going to make the roster.

The latter was active for 15 games last seasons and played 38 snaps (and another 299 on special teams). Special teams work will again be how Johnson lands on the squad, but with new additions to the roster, he isn't guaranteed of anything.

Ben VanSumeren, linebacker

Ben VanSumeren was waived on August 29 last season and re-signed to the practice squad. He was called up to the active roster on November 5 and played ten special teams snaps. He was added to the active roster on November 30 and eventually recorded six tackles on Christmas versus the hated New York Giants.

There's something here. This is a talented young linebacker prospect, but Philly added Devin White, Oren Burks, and Zack Baun to the LB room during free agency before drafting Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

That doesn't necessarily spell doom for Ben, but it does make his route to the 53-man roster more difficult. Keep an eye on the competition here. It could be very intriguing.

Tristin McCollum, safety

Trisin McCollum appeared in three games last season. He played 29 snaps and another 59 on special teams. Most of his work came in week 16 and 18.

Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown are woven into the fabric of this team's future as they should be. After a brief hiatus, C.J. Gardner-Johnson has come home.

Tristin McCollum has a shot to make this roster, but several things are at play. The Eagles could determine they'd rather go light at safety to increase the amount of players they can keep at another position. It's also worth nothing that several DBs have cross-trained at the position which gives Philly some flexibility.

Brett Toth, offensive tackle/guard

Since the close of the most recent NFL season, the Eagles have added Max Scharping, Mekhi Becton and Matt Hennessy by way of free agency. They selected Dylan McMahon and Trevor Keegan during the NFL Draft. The additions of Gottlieb Ayedze and Anim Dankwah came shortly thereafter as undrafted rookie free agents.

Brett Toth has enjoyed three stints as an Eagle if our math is correct. He has appeared in 17 games with one start, but he's far from irreplaceable. Don't be shocked if Toth is on the roster this season. Don't be shocked if Philly decides to move on.

Worth mentioning: Aren't we tired of mentioning James Bradberry in stories like these?

While James Bradberry is clearly on the hotseat and deserves a mention, we have determined that we're tired of typing (or hearing) his name when we doctor up stories like these. As of now, he's still here. We'll see if that changes as we move through the offseason. Training camp approaches. Might he be released or added as part of a trade package?

We'll soon see.

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