Philadelphia Eagles: Pre-preseason 53 man roster prediction

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Linebacker: Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson, Davion Taylor, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, JaCobey Stevens, Patrick Johnson

Another position grouping, another surprise cut that prioritizes a young prospect over an older option – get used to it, my friends, this is a rebuilding team after all.

At one point, Genard Avery looked like a really interesting player to watch as he transitioned from defensive end to outside linebacker. Sure such a move didn’t really work in Cleveland and is a big reason why Howie Roseman was able to procure the Memphis product away from the Browns in the first place – for a 2021 fourth-round pick no less (yikes) – but between his athletic abilities and his willingness to work at his craft, surely something good would come out of the situation, right?

… and then Ryan Kerrigan was signed, and suddenly everything changed.

While I don’t personally expect Kerrigan to play the Anthony Barr role in Jonathan Gannon’s defensive scheme, I do imagine he’ll be deployed as a stand-up rusher from time to time and potentially even drop into coverage when needed. If that happens, the Eagles may value keeping a player like Patrick Johnson as a special teamer/deep reserve to learn from the former Washingtonian and maybe even get in a few rushers if the situation calls for it.

And as for Avery? Well, if he’s cut outright, I highly doubt he’d be willing to return on the practice squad.

Cornerback: Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott

After initially giving meaningful snaps to Michael Jacquet and Craig James, the Philadelphia Eagles slim down their cornerback room and enter the regular season with five cornerbacks, two outside starters, Avonte Maddox in the slot, and one more backup at each position.

While the team’s outside starters have an average age of 30, rolling into the regular season with an incredibly intriguing option as their third outside cornerback in Zech McPhearson – who has absolutely torn the roof off of the Novacare Center – and a firesale fourth-round pick turned viable interior option in Michigan State’s Josiah Scott gives the Eagles a top to be excited about and arguably their best cornerbacks room in years.

Granted, are there still question marks surrounding said collection of cornerbacks? Sure. Darius Slay hasn’t exactly had an elite training camp thus far, and we won’t know if Maddox really is a natural in the slot until we actually see the Pittsburgh product put in work against live bullets.

Still, after watching cornerbacks like Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Leodis McKelvin, and on-the-outside Maddox earn meaningful snaps for the Birds in recent years, it’s comforting to know the team’s current secondary at least projects out as average, with a few solid options maturing in the pipeline.