Early Eagles 53-man roster projection as 2022 OTAs begin

Early Eagles 53-man roster projection as 2022 OTAs begin

We’re a long way from the start of the 2022 season but we already know most of the names who will be on the 53-man roster.

The Eagles begin OTAs tomorrow and then kick off training camp later in the summer. So plenty is still subject to change.

But here’s my best (early) guess at the Eagles’ 53-man roster in 2022:

Quarterbacks (3): Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, Carson Strong

There’s a chance the Eagles could get blown away by an offer for Minshew, in which case he could end up on another roster. If that doesn’t happen, then he’s the backup behind Jalen Hurts. And Strong makes the roster as the No. 3 quarterback. The UDFA from Nevada got a huge amount of guaranteed money ($320,000) and that puts him ahead of the incumbent third-stringer.

Out: Reid Sinnett

Running-back (3): Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott

There’s a good chance the Eagles could keep four running backs, which means Huntley and Brooks will be fighting for that lost spot. But the Eagles don’t have to keep four either. They’d probably have success sneaking one or both of them through to the practice squad. The top three feel pretty safe, especially Sanders and Gainwell.

Out: Jason Huntley, Kennedy Brooks

Receiver (5): AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal, Jalen Reagor

Could the Eagles keep six receivers? Sure. But which of those other guys would make it. Britain Covey is an intriguing name and he has a chance to be a good return man too, but this came down to a numbers game. And he could be signed to the practice squad and called up on some game days. And, yes, Reagor makes the team. The Eagles aren’t going to give up on him just yet and he’d have a bigger cap hit if they cut him.

Out: Greg Ward, John Hightower, Keric Wheatfall, Josh Hammond, Deon Cain, Devon Allen, Britain Covey

Tight end (3): Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra

Goedert and Stoll return from last season and the Eagles used a sixth-round pick on Calcaterra out of SMU. These three feel pretty solid, especially because it seems unlikely last year’s third-stringer Tyree Jackson will be back from his torn ACL in time to make the initial 53.

Out: Richard Rodgers, Noah Togiai, JJ Arcega-Whiteside; PUP: Tyree Jackson

Offensive line (10): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Andre Dillard, Cam Jurgens, Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Le’Raven Clark

The Eagles have pretty impressive depth on their offensive line. There’s a chance they could deal Dillard if another team gets desperate for a starting-caliber left tackle. But if that doesn’t happen then he’ll be back for the final year of his rookie contract as the top backup left tackle. Clark is the last guy in him because of his swing-tackle ability.

Out: Brett Toth, Kayode Awosika, Josh Sills, Jack Anderson, William Dunkle, Jarrid Williams

Defensive tackle (5): Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Noah Elliss

The top four are locks. If the Eagles keep five, it’ll probably come down to Elliss vs. last year’s sixth-round pick Tuipulotu. Even though Elliss is injured this spring, I kept him over Tuipulotu because he’s a pure 0-tech and could be a backup at that position. They also paid him a lot of money for a UDFA and Tuipulotu didn’t do anything that stood out during his rookie season.

Out: Marlon Tuipulotu, Renell Wren, Marvin Wilson

Defensive end (4): Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Tarron Jackson

Not much to figure out here. The Eagles are light on defensive ends but in a way we can put the DE and SAM linebacker positions together as what Jonathan Gannon calls his “overhang” players. The top three are sure things and while Jackson isn’t, he showed some flashes as a rookie and has the frame to be a standup edge rusher.

Out: Matt Leo

SAM linebacker (2): Haason Reddick, Kyron Johnson

Reddick is going to start, play a ton and will be the Eagles’ top player at this position. After him, Kyron Johnson and Patrick Johnson will be fighting to be the backup SAM. But the Eagles also have a couple defense ends who could fill this role too. I have Patrick Johnson out but it’s possible the Eagles keep three SAM linebackers.

Out: Patrick Johnson, Ali Fayad

Off-ball linebacker (5): Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean, TJ Edwards, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor

These five seem relatively safe to me. Some combination of White, Dean and Edwards will get most of the playing time and then Bradley and Taylor are high-level backups who will be major special teams contributors in 2022.

Out: JaCoby Stevens, Christian Elliss

Cornerbacks (6): Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Jimmy Moreland, Tay Gowan

The Eagles have roughly 1,000 cornerbacks so this wasn’t easy. The top four are locks. Slay, Bradberry and Maddox are starters and McPhearson is the top backup outside; he’s also a big special teams guy. I have Moreland over Josiah Scott as the backup nickel but that will need to play out. Moreland will have to show ability on special teams to supplant Scott. And I just like Gowan. I think he has enough talent to keep around. But this was tough because of the numbers. The Eagles are going to have to cut some talented young corners — no way around it.

Out: Kary Vinent Jr., Mac McCain III, Josiah Scott, Craig James, Mario Goodrich, Josh Jobe, Josh Blackwell

Safety (4): Marcus Epps, Anthony Harris, K’Von Wallace, Andre Chachere

Even if you believe in the starting couple of Epps and Harris, the depth at this position is somewhat concerning. Epps was the third safety last year but with the departure of Rodney McLeod in free agency, that job now belongs to Wallace. Chachere is a safety but he is really a special teamer. Keep an eye on Mayden who probably has a better shot of making the roster than you might think.

Out: Jared Mayden, Reed Blankenship

Specialists (3): Jake Elliott, Arryn Siposs, Rick Lovato

The Eagles haven’t brought in any competition for Siposs, who really struggled as a punter down the stretch. There’s something to the idea about continuity with the kicking operation and Elliott had a career season because of it … but if Siposs has a rough stretch again, the Eagles have to be willing to find a replacement.

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